Annalena Venneri

The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (177)793.36 Total impact

  • Katrina Forbes-McKay · Mike Shanks · Annalena Venneri
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: This study aims to document the nature and progression of the spontaneous writing impairment observed in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) over a 12-month period using both a cross-sectional and prospective longitudinal design. Methods: Thirty-one minimal-moderate AD patients and 30 controls matched for age and socio-cultural background completed a simple and complex written description task at baseline. The AD patients then had follow-up assessments at 6 and 12 months. Results: Cross-sectional comparisons indicated that minimal-moderate AD patients produced more semantic paraphasias, phonological paraphasias, and empty and indefinite phrases, whilst producing fewer pictorial themes, repairing fewer errors, and producing shorter and less complex sentences than controls. The two groups could not be distinguished on visual paraphasias. Longitudinal follow-up, however, suggested that visual processing deteriorates over time, where the prevalence of visual errors increased over 12 months. Discussion The findings suggest that the deterioration of writing skills observed in the spontaneous writings of AD patients shows a pattern of impairment dominated by semantic errors with a secondary impairment in phonological processing, which is later joined by a disruption of visuospatial and graphomotor processing.
    Acta Neuropsychiatrica 08/2014; 26(4):246-52. DOI:10.1017/neu.2014.2 · 0.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (RS-fMRI) appears as a promising imaging technique to identify early biomarkers of Alzheimer type neurodegeneration, which can be more sensitive to detect the earliest stages of this disease than structural alterations. Recent findings have highlighted interesting patterns of alteration in resting-state activity at the mild cognitive impairment (MCI) prodromal stage of Alzheimer's disease. However, it has not been established whether RS-fMRI alterations may be of any diagnostic use at the individual patient level and whether parameters derived from RS-fMRI images add any quantitative predictive/classificatory value to standard cognitive tests (CTs). We computed a set of 444 features based on RS-fMRI and used 21 variables obtained from a neuropsychological assessment battery of tests in 29 MCI patients and 21 healthy controls. We used these indices to evaluate their impact on MCI/healthy control classification using machine learning algorithms and a 10-fold cross validation analysis. A classification accuracy (sensitivity/ specificity/area under curve/positive predictive value/negative predictive value) of 0.9559 (0.9620/0.9470/ 0.9517/0.9720/0.9628) was achieved when using both sets of indices. There was a statistically significant improvement over the use of CTs only, highlighting the superior classificatory role of RS-fMRI. RS-fMRI provides complementary information to CTs for MCI-patient/healthy control individual classification.
    Current Alzheimer Research 07/2014; 10(4). DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2014.05.227 · 3.89 Impact Factor
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    Annalena Venneri · Baber Malik
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    Annalena Venneri · Hamad Alzahrani
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    ABSTRACT: Background / Purpose: Recent evidence demonstrates that the motor system has a modular architecture based on motor primitives. Thus, groups of muscle can be activated as a single functional unit (i.e. muscle synergy) ( Cheung et al. 2012) . Nevertheless, it is still unknown whether in humans muscle synergies correspond to specific neurophysiological cerebral substrates. The aim of the study was to estimate the correlations between the number of preserved upper limb muscle synergies and the cerebral areas damaged by a stroke. To find evidence of a central neural substrate for motor primitives. Main conclusion: Stroke lesions in the deepest structures of the white matter (particularly the internal capsule), but also BAs related to motor planning and working memory, are more likely to disrupt a greater number of muscle synergies in the upper limb.
    20th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) 2014; 07/2014
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    Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2014; 10(4):P848. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2014.05.1678 · 12.41 Impact Factor
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    Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2014; 10(4):P850. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2014.05.1684 · 12.41 Impact Factor
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    Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2014; 10(4):P550. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2014.05.888 · 12.41 Impact Factor
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    Caroline Carta · Michael Fraser Shanks · Annalena Venneri
    Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2014; 10(4):P434-P435. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2014.05.575 · 12.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Numerous population-based longitudinal studies suggest an association between modifiable lifestyle factors and late-life dementia. A comprehensive description of these factors and their quantification criteria is an important preliminary step toward the elucidation of causes and mechanisms underlying the onset and progression of dementia. Objective: To present a systematic review of modifiable lifestyle factors associated with dementia risk in longitudinal observational cohort-studies. Methods: A systematic review of original articles, published in English until December 2013, listed in four electronic databases (including PubMed, MEDLINE, PsycINFO) was conducted. Results: 75 papers from 33 epidemiologic studies met the inclusion criteria. Included papers focused on dietary habits (n = 26), leisure activities (social, physical, mental) (n = 23), beverages (juice, tea, coffee, alcohol) (n = 15), smoking (n = 13), social network (n = 6), and combined lifestyle factors (n = 2). Conclusions: Broad consensus emerged on the protective role against dementia of leisure activities. Conflicting results were found for the association between dementia and putative risk factors (smoking) and protective factors (mild-to-moderate alcohol consumption, dietary antioxidants, Mediterranean diet, and living with others). However, studies varied largely in the quantification of lifestyle factors in terms of intensity, frequency and duration of exposure, and in the choice of confounders in statistical analyses. The need for standardized quantification criteria emerges, together with the current limitation in reliably tracking the past history of each patient, from childhood and young adulthood to midlife.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 05/2014; 42(1). DOI:10.3233/JAD-132225 · 4.15 Impact Factor
  • Matteo De Marco · Michael F Shanks · Annalena Venneri
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple modalities of cognitive stimulation (CS)have been designed and tested in samples of patients with probable Alzheimer's disease (AD).Despite the substantial inter-study variability, an overall positive impact of CSis reported. This impact has been especially observed in general measures of cognition. The mechanisms by which cognitive exercises would be beneficial for high-order cortical functions are still largely undetermined, however. When CS has been applied to patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment (who are at the prodromal stage of AD)more stringent methodological criteria and designs were used and studies have been of greater clinical andresearchrelevance.At this diseasestage, a positive impact of CS has been reported in a range of different cognitive domains, and evenat a neuro-computational level by the measurement oftest-retest modifications of brain function. The effects ofCS inhealthy adultshave alsobeen studied. This population allows researchers to explore and test specific neural mechanisms possibly underlying the effect of pen-and-paper or computerised exercises.The evidence from these studies and those contributing toa better understanding of the pathophysiology of AD has led todevising forms of CS as preventive and therapeutical measures for neurodegenerative diseasesbased onnovel frameworks of brain structure, function and connectivity. An extensive review of the literature was carried out to clarify whether CS is effective in AD and mild cognitive impairment and, together with the evidence from studies in healthy participants, to identify the relevant mechanisms that might sustain this effectiveness.
    Current Alzheimer research 05/2014; 11(5). DOI:10.2174/1567205011666140505120145 · 3.89 Impact Factor
  • Annalena Venneri · Michael F. Shanks
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    ABSTRACT: Cognitive neuroscientists have used cognitive frameworks to interpret the various forms of breakdown in the “belief” system (e.g., misidentification, anosognosia, confabulation, asomatognosia, somatoparaphrenia, etc.) observed following focal (right) brain damage. Some cognitive theories can account for the formation of false beliefs but not for bizarre and persistent delusional states resistant to challenge. In his Target Article, Todd Feinberg has integrated psychoanalytic theory, detailed case study, and neuroscientific research knowledge to offer a synthetic account of these positive symptoms. Although they may appear superficially different, in his view in all of these disorders it is possible to detect abnormalities in some aspect of self-awareness and signs of regression to immature styles of thinking and ego functioning (e.g., denial, projection, splitting, and fantasy). One limitation of this argument is that apparently similar forms of brain damage and dysfunction do not always cause the same or even any abnormalities of belief and awareness. A way of confronting this objection, which Feinberg does not explore, is to use some variety of the cerebral reserve concept but specifically applied to cognitive reserve for the self-related functions as an individual diathesis to disorders of belief that makes the emergence of these symptoms more likely.
    01/2014; 12(2):185-189. DOI:10.1080/15294145.2010.10773644
  • Katrina Forbes-McKay · Michael F Shanks · Annalena Venneri
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: This study aims to document the nature and progression of spontaneous speech impairment suffered by patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) over a 12-month period, using both cross-sectional and prospective longitudinal design. Methods: Thirty one mild-moderate AD patients and 30 controls matched for age and socio-cultural background completed a simple and complex oral description task at baseline. The AD patients then underwent follow-up assessments at 6 and 12 months. Results: Cross-sectional comparisons indicated that mild-moderate AD patients produced more word-finding delays (WFDs) and empty and indefinite phrases, while producing fewer pictorial themes, repairing fewer errors, responding to fewer WFDs, produce shorter and less complex phrases and produce speech with less intonational contour than controls. However, the two groups could not be distinguished on the basis of phonological paraphasias. Longitudinal follow-up, however, suggested that phonological processing deteriorates over time, where the prevalence of phonological errors increased over 12 months. Discussion Consistent with findings from neuropsychological, neuropathological and neuroimaging studies, the language deterioration shown by the AD patients shows a pattern of impairment dominated by semantic errors, which is later joined by a disruption in the phonological aspects of speech.
    Acta Neuropsychiatrica 12/2013; 25(06). DOI:10.1017/neu.2013.16 · 0.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background. Haptic robots allow the exploitation of known motor learning mechanisms, representing a valuable option for motor treatment after stroke. The aim of this feasibility multicentre study was to test the clinical efficacy of a haptic prototype, for the recovery of hand function after stroke. Methods. A prospective pilot clinical trial was planned on 15 consecutive patients enrolled in 3 rehabilitation centre in Italy. All the framework features of the haptic robot (e.g., control loop, external communication, and graphic rendering for virtual reality) were implemented into a real-time MATLAB/Simulink environment, controlling a five-bar linkage able to provide forces up to 20 [N] at the end effector, used for finger and hand rehabilitation therapies. Clinical (i.e., Fugl-Meyer upper extremity scale; nine hold pegboard test) and kinematics (i.e., time; velocity; jerk metric; normalized jerk of standard movements) outcomes were assessed before and after treatment to detect changes in patients' motor performance. Reorganization of cortical activation was detected in one patient by fMRI. Results and Conclusions. All patients showed significant improvements in both clinical and kinematic outcomes. Additionally, fMRI results suggest that the proposed approach may promote a better cortical activation in the brain.
    Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine 11/2013; 2013:895492. DOI:10.1155/2013/895492 · 0.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: A single case study with control and normative data of a 74-year-old retired businessman with amnestic mild cognitive impairment, who had spontaneous confabulations concerning fantastic exploits and magical powers as well as déjà vécu experiences. Methods and results: His neuropsychological profile showed episodic memory impairment including deficits of recent episodic autobiographical memories and of recognition, but performance was within normal limits on tests assessing source memory for words, the ability to suppress irrelevant items on a continuous recognition memory task, and the detection of stimulus frequency. There were discrete impairments in an ad hoc test measuring his ability to detect and discriminate the source of a range of material including information derived from personal and public events, invented material, and episodes culled from his personal reading. Although his source memory for autobiographical information was normal, he attributed 20% of the invented material and personal readings and 15% of the public events either to his own experience or to that of someone he knew personally or to someone else. Conclusions: This evidence suggests that none of the current theoretical accounts of spontaneous confabulations is sufficiently explanatory. Instead, an argument is developed that both fantastic confabulation and déjà vécu arose from a more fundamental disorder of awareness.
    Neuropsychology 11/2013; 28(3). DOI:10.1037/neu0000031 · 3.27 Impact Factor
  • Annalena Venneri · Michael F Shanks
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    ABSTRACT: Cholinesterase inhibitors have been in use for almost two decades but with residual uncertainty about treatment targeting and the nature of the longer-term effects, which achieve cognitive stabilization for some patients. The contribution of more traditional neuroimaging techniques to this debate, including task-related functional MRI and structural MRI, are examined. Recent findings with advanced imaging techniques, including resting-state functional MRI, diffusion tensor imaging and PET amyloid imaging, offer new imaging biomarkers for patient selection into clinical trials. The ability to detect changes in brain networks will also clarify the processes involved in the response, or lack of response, to treatment and produce imaging data that better correlate with changes in levels of cognitive performance and everyday activity.
    Imaging in medicine 10/2013; 5(5):441-452. DOI:10.2217/iim.13.51
  • Sarah Wakefield · William McGeown · Michael Shanks · Annalena Venneri
  • Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2013; 9(4):P817. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2013.05.1753 · 12.41 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2013; 9(4):P798-P799. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2013.05.1646 · 12.41 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
793.36 Total Impact Points


  • 2011–2015
    • The University of Sheffield
      • Department of Neuroscience
      Sheffield, England, United Kingdom
  • 2004–2014
    • University of Hull
      • Department of Psychology
      Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom
    • Catholic University of Louvain
      Walloon Region, Belgium
  • 2013
    • Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
      Sheffield, England, United Kingdom
  • 2006
    • Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia
      Modène, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 1996–2004
    • University of Aberdeen
      • School of Psychology
      Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 2002
    • Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
      Reading, England, United Kingdom
  • 1994
    • Università degli studi di Parma
      • Department of Neurosciences
      Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 1993
    • Università Politecnica delle Marche
      Ancona, The Marches, Italy