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Neurological soft signs in persons with amnestic mild cognitive impairment and the relationships to neuropsychological functions

Hui-jie Li1, Peng-yun Wang12, Yang Jiang3, Raymond C K Chan4, Hua-li Wang5 and Juan Li1*

Author Affiliations

1 Center on Aging Psychology, Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

2 Graduate School, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

3 Department of Behavioral Science, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Kentucky, USA

4 Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

5 Department of Geriatric Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Peking University, Beijing, China

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Behavioral and Brain Functions 2012, 8:29  doi:10.1186/1744-9081-8-29

Published: 7 June 2012



Neurological abnormalities have been reported in people with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). The current study aimed to examine the prevalence of neurological soft signs (NSS) in this clinical group and to examine the relationship of NSS to other neuropsychological performances.


Twenty-nine people with aMCI and 28 cognitively healthy elderly people were recruited for the present study. The NSS subscales (motor coordination, sensory integration, and disinhibition) of the Cambridge Neurological Inventory and a set of neuropsychological tests were administered to all the participants.


People with aMCI exhibited significantly more motor coordination signs, disinhibition signs, and total NSS than normal controls. Correlation analysis showed that the motor coordination subscale score and total score of NSS were significantly inversely correlated with the combined Z-score of neuropsychological tests in aMCI group.


These preliminary findings suggested that people with aMCI demonstrated a higher prevalence of NSS compared to healthy elderly people. Moreover, NSS was found to be inversely correlated with the neuropsychological performances in persons with aMCI. When taken together, these findings suggested that NSS may play a potential important role and serve as a tool to assist in the early detection of aMCI.

Mild cognitive impairment; Neurological soft signs; Neuropsychological tests