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Attention/Concentration (lack of) | Doctor's Diary

The sudden loss of attention is the hallmark of delirium. The loss of attention is an acute change (meaning that it comes on suddenly) in cognition . The loss of attention tends to fluctuate and is worse at some times more than at others. In clinical practice, attention is commonly tested by having the person count backwards.

Dr. Barry Reisberg, of New York University, has pioneered the description of changes in attention and concentration in relation to the stages of dementia. In particular, he has noted that normally, people can count backwards from 100 by 7. Mild impairment in doing this can be described by the condition known as mild cognitive impairment . More severe disruption, however, can be a sign of mild dementia, which can also impact the ability to count backwards from 40 by 4. The next clinically important grades are seen in counting from 20 by 2, followed by problems counting backwards from 10 to 1, and finally various errors associated with counting from 1 to 10.

See Also:
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Interest/Initiative (lack of)
Symptom Library > Thinking & Judgment > Following Instructions
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Sundowning
About Dementia > Treatments for Dementia > Exercise
About Dementia > Types of Dementia > Dementia with Lewy Bodies
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Last updated December 4, 2018
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