Annalena Venneri

The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (159)854.04 Total impact

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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 · 0.64 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. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
    Neuropsychology 11/2013; 28(3). DOI:10.1037/neu0000031 · 3.58 Impact Factor
  • Annalena Venneri, Michael F Shanks
    Imaging in medicine 10/2013; 5(5):441-452. DOI:10.2217/iim.13.51
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    Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2013; 9(4):P455. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2013.05.912 · 17.47 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2013; 9(4):P526. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2013.04.259 · 17.47 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2013; 9(4):P493. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2013.05.1013 · 17.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Semantic memory decline has been found in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). In this study performance on a range of semantic tasks and structural brain patterns were examined in a group of MCI patients. Fourteen MCI and sixteen healthy elderly controls underwent semantic memory assessment and MRI brain scanning. The cognitive battery included visual naming and naming from definition tasks for objects, actions and famous people, semantic fluency for animals, fruits, tools, furniture, singers, politicians, actions, word-association task for early and late acquired words and a reading task. MCI patients performed worse on semantic fluency in all categories except for tools, produced a smaller number of words associated with early acquired nouns and a smaller total number of word-associations. Patients scored more poorly in all tasks of naming, naming of famous people, overall reading and reading of famous people's names. MCIs had fewer correct immediate recalls and more correct responses with cue in famous people naming, made more errors in naming and in the naming from definition task for famous people. Grey matter reduction in parahippocampus, frontal and cingulate cortices and amygdala was found in the MCI sample when compared with controls. Patients presented a different pattern of brain areas correlated with semantic tasks from that seen in controls, with more extensive involvement of subcortical regions in semantic fluency and word-association and more contribution of frontal than temporo-parietal areas in visual naming. This evidence suggests a reorganization of cortical associations of semantic processes in MCI that, following damage in the semantic circuit, explains its progressive breakdown.
    Current Alzheimer research 01/2013; DOI:10.2174/1567205011310040004 · 4.97 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 01/2013; 2013:895492. DOI:10.1155/2013/895492 · 0.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A controversy in the field of hypnosis has centered on the question of whether there is a uniquely hypnotic state of consciousness and, if so, whether it is causally related to responsiveness to suggestion. Evidence from brain imaging studies has been used to support claims for various altered state hypotheses, without resolving the debate. The designs of many neuroimaging studies confound the induction of hypnosis with the suggestions that can be given in or out of hypnosis, thus rendering them incapable of resolving the controversy. Brain imaging studies that do not have this confound support the hypothesis that hypnotic inductions produce changes in brain activity, but also indicate that these changes are not required for the experience of hypnotic suggestions or their neural correlates. The data remain equivocal as to whether there is a causal relation between the changes in brain activity produced by hypnotic inductions and those produced by other suggestions. It also remains uncertain whether the changes in activation produced by hypnotic inductions reflect a uniquely hypnotic state as opposed to more mundane processes.
    Cortex 09/2012; DOI:10.1016/j.cortex.2012.08.005 · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: In cortical deafness, no auditory signals can be perceived by the cortex despite normal peripheral hearing. Cortical deafness rarely persists, but generally evolves into other cortical auditory syndromes. In this report, we describe a patient showing a stable and persisting pattern of cortical deafness 16 months after two major ischemic strokes. Methods: Voxel based morphometric evidence from high resolution three-dimensional MRI and data from tractography are reported for the first time, to our knowledge, in this syndrome in addition to behavioral and electrophysiological findings. Results: The most remarkable findings came from the tractography data, where an asymmetric pattern was found showing severe damage of connections within the anterior right hemisphere, in regions subserving self-awareness. Frontal asymmetry, although detectable by the morphometric analysis, was less informative than that detected in the tractography data. Conclusion: The evidence from this case study suggests that damage to the neural systems involved in awareness may play an important role in the emergence of cortical deafness and its persistence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
    Neuropsychology 08/2012; 26(6). DOI:10.1037/a0029688 · 3.58 Impact Factor
  • Katija Khan, Annalena Venneri
    Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2012; 8(4):P546. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2012.05.1467 · 17.47 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2012; 8(4):P578. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2012.05.2168 · 17.47 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2012; 8(4):P579. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2012.05.2172 · 17.47 Impact Factor
  • William McGeown, Annalena Venneri
    Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2012; 8(4):P371. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2012.05.1019 · 17.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The effect of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on psychopathological symptoms and resting state brain activity was assessed in a patient with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). tDCS and rTMS had no effect on OC symptoms. tDCS, however, improved depression and anxiety. Functional magnetic resonance imaging at baseline showed an interhemispheric asymmetry with hyperactivation of the left and hypoactivation of the right anterior neural circuits. A reduction of interhemispheric imbalance was detected after tDCS but not after rTMS. tDCS seems to be more effective than rTMS in restoring interhemispheric imbalance and improving anxiety and depression in OCD.
    Neurocase 05/2012; DOI:10.1080/13554794.2012.667131 · 1.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine the brain areas responsible for the semantic impairment observed in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) patients. Thirteen AD, 14 MCI patients, and 13 matched healthy older adults were assessed with a test battery aimed to study their semantic competence. Different subtasks were designed to study their semantic knowledge related to objects and faces in the context of semantic retrieval- and semantic association-dependent tasks. Aggregate scores obtained in the different tests were entered into voxel-based regression analyses with grey matter volume values obtained from three-dimensional brain MRI scans. Areas of significant correlation between volume loss and poor semantic scores were restricted to the temporal lobe in the AD group, while in the MCI and control groups significant associations were found with lower grey matter volume values in a widely distributed network of bilateral fronto-temporo-parietal regions. Our results suggest that degradation of partially overlapping and widely distributed neural networks, mainly including temporal regions, subserve semantic deficits related to objects and faces in AD and MCI patients.
    Journal of Neurolinguistics 05/2012; 25(3). DOI:10.1016/j.jneuroling.2011.10.001 · 1.60 Impact Factor
  • Lina Aimola, Igor Schindler, Annalena Venneri
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Patients with unilateral neglect may show line bisection errors selectively in either near (within hand reaching) or far (beyond hand reaching) space which suggests that these two spatial areas are coded differently by the brain. This exploratory study investigated, whether any difference in performance between these spatial domains might be task-independent or modulated by the requirement for a motor response.Methods: A 31-year-old right brain damaged patient (MF) and a group of age matched healthy controls were assessed with two serial visual search tasks and a Landmark paradigm. Both types of task required either a directional (pointing) or non-directional (button press) motor response. Participants were assessed with both task types and response modes in near (57 cm) and far space (114 cm). Results: MF showed left neglect during visual search only in far space for the perceptual condition and in near space for the motor condition. MF showed no neglect in both versions of the Landmark task irrespective of spatial distance. A voxel-based morphometric assessment of MF's brain lesion showed marked damage in the right ventro-temporal cortex, superior temporal gyrus, insula, inferior frontal gyrus, angular gyrus and bilaterally in the posterior cingulate cortex. Conclusions: Our preliminary findings suggest that processing of far space during visual search is associated with ventral stream damage but only when space is coded through visual information. Neglect involving directional motor activity in near space seems to be associated with damage of structures sharing close connections with the dorsal stream.
    Behavioural neurology 03/2012; 27(3). DOI:10.3233/BEN-2012-110243 · 1.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: When assessing for the presence of hemianesthesia, the examiner touches the body of the patients, and requests that they report verbally the location of the delivered tactile stimulus. Contralesional omissions of single tactile stimuli, however, might be due to either primary somatosensory deficits or to spatial attention impairment (i.e., neglect). In this preliminary study, we tested whether clinical assessment can be improved to differentiate between these two types of deficit by modifying the assessment procedure. K.L., a patient with left unilateral neglect, was asked to detect tactile stimuli delivered in two conditions: spatial attention distributed either to his left or to his right hand, and spatial attention focused only on his left hand. Note that K.L. did not receive double simultaneous tactile stimuli. In the distributed spatial attention condition, K.L. omitted most of the single tactile stimuli delivered to his left hand. In the focused attention condition, K.L. was asked to focus his spatial attention only on his left hand. Under this latter condition, his performance increased dramatically, suggesting that his omissions were not due to hemianesthesia, but rather reflected left tactile neglect. In line with the neuropsychological findings, voxel based analysis of his grey and white matter damage confirmed significant loss in areas associated with left-sided neglect, but sparing of primary somatosensory cortex. This result suggests that standard somatosensory assessment and differential diagnosis between hemianesthesia and tactile neglect may be more accurate when neuropsychology-based procedures are incorporated in the standard neurological examination.
    Behavioural neurology 03/2012; 26(1-2). DOI:10.3233/BEN-2012-110225 · 1.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This is the case report of RB, a 68-year-old retired woman who, following an extensive right sided ischaemic stroke, showed hemiplegia, anosognosia and allochiria, but no somato-sensory deficits and no visuospatial neglect. A high resolution 3D MRI structural scan of her brain was acquired to define the structural damage in detail. Morphometric analyses of grey and white matter data revealed a large lesion which involved most of her right parietal, temporal, and mesial frontal cortex, with partial sparing of the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and part of the posterior corpus callosum. Detailed examination showed that RB attributed sensory stimuli, both on the left and on the right, to the opposite side of her body. This mirror reversed representation of her body caused misattribution of items even in the absence of stimulation, as for instance when the patient spontaneously reported pain in her right knee while pointing to her left knee. RB's neuropsychological profile showed normal or borderline performance on most cognitive tasks. Language comprehension was intact and she could tell left from right without difficulty in all instances except for those referable to her soma. To our knowledge this is the first description of severe allochiria for body representation in the absence of neglect. The evidence from this case supports the developing concept that the body representation is not simply a systematic registration of proprioceptive inputs, but that the brain has a more sophisticated high level representation of one's body map which is updated on the basis of multimodal information.
    Neuropsychologia 02/2012; 50(5):973-8. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.02.004 · 3.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Most group studies which have investigated neglect for near and far space have found an increased severity of symptoms in far space compared to near space. However, the majority of these studies used relatively small samples and based their findings almost exclusively on line bisection performance. The aim of the present study was, therefore, to explore the occurrence of neglect for near and far space in a larger group of unselected right brain damaged patients and to evaluate whether neglect specific to near and far space is a task-related deficit or generalises across distance irrespective of task. In addition, a lesion overlap analysis was carried out to identify critical lesion sites associated with distance specific neglect deficits. Thirty-eight right hemisphere damaged patients carried out a line bisection and a cancellation task by using a pen in near space (40 cm) and a laser pointer in far space (320 cm). The results showed that both the number of left-sided omissions and rightward bisection errors were significantly increased in near compared to far space. Distance specific dissociations, albeit less common, were more frequently observed for cancellation than line bisection. These results suggest that space representation in neglect is more severely impaired in near than in far space. In addition, distance related dissociations in neglect may depend on task demands. Although the anatomical findings were broadly consistent with a dorsal and ventral stream dichotomy for near and far space processing, they also suggest the involvement of intermediate structures in distance related neglect phenomena.
    Neuropsychologia 01/2012; 50(6):1115-23. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.01.022 · 3.45 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
854.04 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
  • 1994–2013
    • Università degli studi di Parma
      • Dipartimento di Neuroscienze
      Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 2003–2006
    • Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia
      Modène, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 2000–2004
    • University of Milan
      • Department of Neurological Sciences
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 1997–2004
    • University of Aberdeen
      • School of Psychology
      Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 2002
    • Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
      Reading, England, United Kingdom
  • 1993
    • Università Politecnica delle Marche
      Ancona, The Marches, Italy