Impaired Color Discrimination in Alzheimer Disease Dementia.

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Patients with Alzheimer disease dementia often show impaired orientation and navigation. Signage offers an opportunity to compensate for these deficits, communicate information efficiently and facilitate way finding. Certain properties of signs such as colors and contrasts may beneficially affect the uptake and processing of information particularly in ADD patients.

Thirty-six healthy older adults and 30 ADD patients performed a computerized color perception task that required discriminating different color combinations. The effects of different contrast features on performance accuracy and speed in the 2 experimental groups were examined by nonparametric mixed analysis of variances.

Analyses revealed a significant effect of contrast polarity on reaction times, significant effects of group on reaction times and errors as well as a marginally significant interaction of group×color on errors. All participants benefited from positive contrast polarity as indicated by increased performance speed. Furthermore, ADD patients reacted slower and less accurate than healthy controls, but showed higher accuracy at black-white and red-yellow than at blue-green color combinations.

The authors' findings suggest the implementation of signs with positive contrast polarity to ensure faster reactions. In addition, certain color combinations may enhance accuracy, particularly in patients with ADD.

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