Aim: The supermarket task, which is included in the Japanese version of the Rapid Dementia Screening Test, requires the quick (1 min) generation of words for things that can be bought in a supermarket. Cluster size and switches are investigated during this task. We investigated how the severity of dementia related to cluster size and switches on the supermarket task in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Methods: We administered the Japanese version of the Rapid Dementia Screening Test to 250 patients with very mild to severe Alzheimer's disease and to 49 healthy volunteers. Patients had Mini-Mental State Examination scores from 12 to 26 and Clinical Dementia Rating scale scores from 0.5 to 3. Patients were divided into four groups based on their Clinical Dementia Rating score (0.5, 1, 2, 3). We performed statistical analyses between the four groups and control subjects based on cluster size and switch scores on the supermarket task. Results: The score for cluster size and switches deteriorated according to the severity of dementia. Moreover, for subjects with a Clinical Dementia Rating score of 0.5, cluster size was impaired, but switches were intact. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that the scores for cluster size and switches on the supermarket task may be useful for detecting the severity of symptoms of dementia in patients with Alzheimer's disease.
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