Face-specific memory deficits and changes in eye scanning patterns among patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment

Sci Rep. 2017 Oct 30;7(1):14344. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-14585-5.


Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) is a prodromal stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Previous studies have shown functional and structural degradation of the fusiform face area, which is a core region for face processing, in addition to medial temporal lobe degradation. We predicted that patients with aMCI exhibit a loss of face processing and/or face memory, accompanied by abnormal eye scanning patterns, since patients who have deficits in face perception (i.e. prosopagnosia) exhibit such tendencies. Eighteen patients with aMCI and age-matched healthy controls were tested for perception and short-term memory of visually presented faces and houses while their gaze was recorded. Patients with aMCI showed a decline in memory, compared with control observers, for faces, but not for houses. Patients looked more at the mouth of faces, compared with control observers. We demonstrate here the loss of short-term face memory in aMCI with abnormal scanning patterns that might reflect the cerebral abnormality found in patients with aMCI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Amnesia / complications
  • Amnesia / physiopathology
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / physiopathology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / psychology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Facial Recognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / complications
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Perception
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Temporal Lobe