Research Article| Volume 298, ISSUE 1-2, P46-51, November 15, 2010

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Information about medications may cause misunderstanding in older adults with cognitive impairment



      It is not known whether and in which way patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and patients with mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) are affected by the information frame when judging the outcome of a medication. This study aimed to compare framing effects between healthy older adults, MCI patients, and mild AD patients.


      Participants performed a framing task where they had to judge the outcome of unknown medications on a 7-point scale. Medications were described either by using positive terms (positive frame) or by using negative terms (negative frame).


      All three groups showed framing effects and judged more favourably the positively-framed medications than the negatively-framed medications. However, framing effects were more pronounced in MCI patients and mild AD patients than in healthy older adults.


      This study suggests that the way information is conveyed is critical and that health-related decisions of patients with slight cognitive impairment may be relevantly biased by positive and negative formulations. The development of standardised, easily understandable means of patient information is recommended.


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