Abstract

A topic of great interest in gerontology research is the prediction of cognitive deterioration which marks the transition from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia. In this area the term plasticity is a construct of prime importance. Previous studies have demonstrated the existence of plasticity in healthy older persons, and it is thought that this is what discriminates between healthy individuals and those at risk for dementia. The aim of the present study is to demonstrate that plasticity exists in persons with MCI, and that a lack of plasticity may be one of the risk factors related to cognitive decline. An adapted version of the Auditory Verbal Learning Test—the AVLT of Learning Potential—was used to assess plasticity. Participants in the research were 203 older persons whose cognitive status had previously been determined using a cognitive screening test. The results show that plasticity exists in persons with MCI and that its presence is associated with less marked cognitive decline.