Diagnostic relevance of spatial orientation for vascular dementia: A case study

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Background: Spatial orientation is emerging as an early and reliable cognitive biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathophysiology. However, no evidence exists as to whether spatial orientation is also affected in vascular dementia (VaD).

Objective: To examine allocentric (map-based) and egocentric (viewpoint-based) spatial orientation in an early stage VaD case.

Methods: A spatial test battery was administered following clinical and neuropsychological cognitive evaluation.

Results: Despite the patient’s complaints, little evidence of episodic memory deficits were detected when cueing was provided to overcome executive dysfunction. Similarly, medial temporal lobe-mediated allocentric orientation was intact. By contrast, medial parietal-mediated egocentric orientation was impaired, despite normal performance on standard visuospatial tasks.

Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first in-depth investigation of spatial orientation deficits in VaD. Isolated egocentric deficits were observed. This differs from AD orientation deficits which encompass both allocentric and egocentric orientation deficits. A combination of egocentric orientation and executive function tests could serve as a promising cognitive marker for VaD pathophysiology.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-91
JournalDementia & Neuropsychologia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


    Research areas

  • Spatial orientation, egocentric, allocentric, vascular dementia, VAD, executive function, neurodegeneration

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