Relationship Between Executive Functioning And Activities Of Daily Living In Patients With Relatively Mild Dementia

There is very little research regarding the relationship between tests of executive functioning and actual functional ability in patients with dementia. Thirty-three patients diagnosed with dementia and 35 age- and education-matched healthy controls were administered tests of executing functioning and an observation- and informant-based activities of daily living (ADL). As expected, the results revealed that the controls outperformed the dementia patients on the executive and ADL tests. Additionally, executive functioning correlated significantly with aspects of functional ability in patients with dementia. This relationship was strongest for tests of verbal fluency and a complex test of cognitive flexibility and reasoning ability (i.e., Wisconsin Card Sorting Test). These findings suggest that some executive function tests are more sensitive than others for predicting specific functional abilities and that they may be most useful to healthcare professionals for treatment planning.