Researchers at the University of Montreal studied a group of 117 healthy seniors aged 60 to 91 who were shown pictures of 30 celebrities and asked to recall details, such as name, profession, nationality and biographical information. Researchers found that the ability to remember a subject’s name decreases over time in healthy aging, but the ability to recall details – semantic memory – is less affected.
In a second study, those same researchers performed a similar test on seniors with mild cognitive impairment or early stages of Alzheimer’s. They discovered that seniors had an easier time recalling a celebrity’s name, but their ability to recall details was significantly more impaired.
Researchers suggest that this type of semantic memory test could become a valuable tool in assessing those at risk for dementia and Alzheimer’ disease. The report appears in the Canadian Journal on Aging.