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Luria's three-step test: what is it and what does it tell us?

  • Myron F. Weiner (a1) (a2), Linda S. Hynan (a1) (a3), Heidi Rossetti (a1) (a4) and Jed Falkowski (a1)


Background: The purpose of this study is to determine if the three-step Luria test is useful for differentiating between cognitive disorders.

Methods: A retrospective record review of performance on the three-step Luria test was conducted on 383 participants from a university-based dementia clinic. The participants ranged in their diagnosis from frontotemporal dementia (FTD; n = 43), Alzheimer disease (AD; n = 153), mild cognitive impairment (MCI; n = 56), and normal controls (NC; n = 131). Performance of the Luria test was graded as normal or abnormal.

Results: An abnormal test occurred in 2.3% of NC, 21.4% of MCI, 69.8% of FTD, and 54.9% of AD subjects. The frequency of abnormal tests in all diagnostic groups increased with functional impairment as assessed by the Clinical Dementia Rating scale (CDR). When CDR = 3 (severe), 100% of the FTD and 72.2% of the AD subjects had abnormal Luria tests.

Conclusions: The three-step Luria test distinguished NC and persons with MCI from FTD and AD, but did not distinguish FTD from AD subjects.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Myron F. Weiner, MD, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, Texas 75390–9129, USA. Phone: +1 214-648-9353; Fax: +1 214-648-2031. Email:


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