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Keywords:

  • cognitive deficits;
  • cognitive impairment;
  • posttraumatic stress disorder;
  • older adults;
  • veterans;
  • memory;
  • learning;
  • single trial learning;
  • executive dysfunction;
  • information processing speed;
  • attention;
  • language

Background: We determined the pattern of clinically significant cognitive impairment (CI) among older veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) evaluated in a memory disorders clinic.

Methods: Data were collected from 19 ethnically diverse veterans. Cognitive functioning in six domains (verbal learning, memory, attention, language, executive functioning, and information processing speed) was assessed.

Results: The majority of veterans (57%) demonstrated CI on a measure of single trial list learning, 44% exhibited CI on short delay memory for lists, and 31% exhibited CI in long delay memory for lists. CI on measures of memory for stories (14%) and executive functioning (6%) were less common, and none of the participants demonstrated CI on measures of attention, language, or information processing speed.

Conclusions: CI on measures of single trial list learning and memory for lists are common in older patients with PTSD evaluated in a memory disorders clinic and are likely to contribute to functional deficits. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.