Annalena Venneri

The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (135)468.12 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The Clock Drawing Test (CDT) is a valid screening tool for the evaluation of cognitive decline. This study aimed to compute standardized norms for the Freedman version of the CDT in a population of 248 healthy Italian individuals aged from 20 to 89 years. The effects of age, education, and gender on performance were assessed. Three conditions were administered: free-drawn clock (FD), which required participants to draw the contour, numbers, hands, and center of the clock; predrawn clock (PD), in which numbers, hands, and center had to be included in a predrawn contour; examiner-drawn clock (ED), in which only hands and center had to be inserted in a template including a predrawn contour and numbers. Scores for each of the single conditions and a total score were calculated. Age had no effect on the FD condition, whereas a significant effect of age was found for the PD and ED conditions and the total score. Gender and education had no influence on any of the scores. Correction grids, cutoffs, and equivalent scores were computed. Standardized norms for the Freedman version of the CDT were collected in a large sample of healthy individuals. No adjustments were required for scores on the free-drawn condition, whereas raw scores on the predrawn and examiner-drawn conditions and the total score needed adjustments to account for age effects. The availability of standardized norms for this version of the CDT could increase the use of this comprehensive tool in the detection of dementia.
    Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 11/2011; 33(9):982-8. · 2.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Morphometric and neuropsychological retrospective studies of amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have demonstrated that regional atrophies and cognitive impairments may differentiate stable from progressing MCI. No measure has proved helpful prospectively. In this study, twenty five amnestic MCI patients and 25 healthy controls underwent structural MRI and comprehensive neuropsychological assessment. The groups' grey matter volumes were compared with voxel based morphometry and were also correlated with scores obtained on paired associates learning and category fluency tasks. MCI patients had significantly reduced grey matter volume in left mediotemporal and other neocortical regions compared with controls. Atrophy in perirhinal and anterior inferior temporal cortex was associated with poor scores on both category fluency and paired associates learning tasks. After 36 months, 44% of the MCI sample converted to dementia. Converter and non-converter MCI subgroups differed in paired associates learning and in category fluency scores, and showed limited differences in grey matter loss in the hippocampal complex. Variable atrophy in the hippocampus was not a relevant element in the converter/non converter distinction, but converters had significant volumetric reductions in the perhirinal cortex and in other anterior temporal and frontal neocortical areas. A high proportion of converters (91%) could be identified from baseline data using a combination of measures of regional atrophy in left temporal association cortex and poor scores on paired associates learning and category fluency tasks. This combined approach may offer a better option than using each measure alone to prospectively identify individuals at more immediate risk of conversion to dementia in the MCI population. The clinical advantage of this combination of structural MRI and neuropsychological measures in predicting conversion to dementia will need additional prospective validation.
    Current Alzheimer research 11/2011; 8(7):789-97. · 4.97 Impact Factor
  • Annalena Venneri, Carlo Semenza
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    ABSTRACT: This study reports the case of a patient (AG) whose main calculation problem was with multiplication that was severely affected at all levels including that of conceptual knowledge. In contrast AG's problems with addition, subtraction and division were much less conspicuous and just involved the use of procedures. For all these latter operations, and for division in particular, conceptual knowledge was spared. Despite his procedural problems, AG in fact was fully aware that division consists of finding out how many times a given quantity is contained in another quantity. Thus while he was able to reach the correct results for division by subtracting the divisor from the dividend, he never used the reverse strategy to complete multiplication operations, i.e. add the number for as many times as the multiplier to complete the operation, and showed no awareness that this was what multiplying means, even when explicit suggestions were made by the examiner. The existence of AG's case could not be expected on the basis of theories holding that division depends on multiplication and that is not separately represented in semantic memory. It follows, therefore, that the extent to which division depends on multiplication needs to be reconsidered.
    Neuropsychologia 09/2011; 49(13):3629-35. · 3.48 Impact Factor
  • Katija Khan, Annalena Venneri
    Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2011; 7(4):S294. · 17.47 Impact Factor
  • Katija Khan, Annalena Venneri
    Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2011; 7(4):S249. · 17.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study characterized the relationship between apolipoprotein E (APOE) status and residual semantic abilities in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI). APOE status (ε4 carrier/non ε4 carrier) was determined in 30 amnestic MCIs and in 22 healthy matched non ε4 carrier controls. The lexical characteristics (age of acquisition, typicality, familiarity) of words produced in a category fluency task were determined. MCIs produced fewer words than controls and these were also earlier acquired and more familiar. The words produced by MCI ε4 carriers were earlier acquired than those of non ε4 carriers. Analyses limited to the first 10 words produced by patients and controls showed similar findings and also revealed that MCI subgroups retrieved first more typical words than controls. Follow up showed higher conversion to Alzheimer's disease (AD) in MCI ε4 carriers than in non ε4 carriers. These findings show that a significant proportion of phenotype variability in performance on category fluency in people at increased AD risk is influenced by genetic factors. These findings explain why category fluency deficits, together with episodic memory deficits, are the only consistent early deficits in MCI patients who convert to AD. (JINS, 2011, 17, 1-8).
    Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 03/2011; · 2.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to verify whether the repetition abilities in Alzheimer patients interact with the linguistic properties of individual languages, such that speakers will omit nominal referents more often only if the omission is a grammatical option in their language. Unlike English, where an overt nominal referent is always required in grammatical subject position, Italian allows grammatical subjects to be unexpressed. In Experiment 1, twelve Italian speakers with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and twelve age- and education-matched controls repeated sentences of varying length and complexity. As predicted, Italian AD speakers omitted sentence subjects in complex sentences while control participants very rarely did. In Experiment 2, ten English AD speakers, matched with the Italian AD participants with respect to age and severity of the disease, and ten age- and education-matched controls repeated translation equivalent materials. Unlike the Italian AD participants, English AD participants did not omit sentence subjects. Italian and English AD participants, however, were comparable in their global ability to repeat sentences of varying length. Together these results indicate that the performance of AD speakers in repeating sentences interacts with language-specific properties.
    Journal of Neurolinguistics. 01/2011;
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2011; 7(4).
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the cognitive profile and the cerebral perfusion pattern in a highly educated 70 year old gentleman with posterior cortical atrophy (PCA). Visuo-perceptual abilities, spatial memory, spatial representation and navigation, visuo-spatial mental imagery, semantic and episodic-autobiographical memory were assessed. Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was imaged with SPECT. Cognitive testing showed visual-perceptual impairment, apperceptive visual and landmark agnosia, topographical disorientation with way-finding deficits, impaired map learning and poor mental image generation. Semantic memory was normal, while episodic-autobiographical memory was impaired. Reduced rCBF was found mainly in the right hemisphere, in the precentral gyrus, posterior cingulate and middle temporal gyri, cuneus and precuneus, in the left superior temporal and lingual gyri and in the parahippocampus bilaterally. Hypoperfusion in occipito-parietal regions was associated with visuo-spatial deficits, whereas deficits in visuo-spatial mental imagery might reflect dysfunction related to hypoperfusion in the parahippocampus and precuneus, structures which are responsible for spatial and imagery processing. Dissociating performance between preserved semantic memory and poor episodic-autobiographical recall is consistent with a pattern of normal perfusion in frontal and anterior temporal regions but abnormal rCBF in the parahippocampi. The present findings indicate that PCA involves visuo-spatial imagery deficits and provide further validation to current neuro-cognitive models of spatial representation and topographical disorientation.
    Behavioural neurology 01/2011; 24(2):123-32. · 1.25 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Neurophysiology - CLIN NEUROPHYSIOL. 01/2011; 122.
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2011; 7(4).
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2011; 7(4).
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    ABSTRACT: Lexical-semantic competency in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) ε4 carriers was used as an endophenotype, and gray matter volume in MCI ε4 carriers/noncarriers and in noncarrier controls was compared. Residual gray matter volumes were correlated with age of acquisition values for words from a category fluency task, an index of semantic competency. MCI patients had significantly impoverished lexical-semantic output compared with controls, more marked in MCI ε4 carriers. Smaller volumes in the left hippocampus, bilateral regions of the uncus, and posterior cingulate cortex were associated with a tendency to retrieve earlier acquired words in the category fluency task in MCI ε4 carriers, whereas poor semantic performance in MCI noncarriers was associated with smaller volumes in the left uncus, bilateral regions of the parahippocampal gyrus, and hippocampus, and also in a large number of neocortical regions. There was a significant semantic competency by genotype interaction in the left perirhinal cortex, in a number of left frontal and temporal areas and in the right inferior parietal lobule and precuneus. MCI ε4 carriers, when compared with noncarriers, had lower gray matter volume values confined to the right precuneus and the cerebellum bilaterally, but the converse comparison showed that MCI noncarriers had lower values in extensive frontal, temporal, and parietal regions of the neocortex. Similar brain volumetric variations linked to genotype were found in minimal-to-mild AD. The results suggest a relatively specific impact of apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 burden and underline the value of linguistic assessment in preclinical diagnosis.
    Alzheimer disease and associated disorders 12/2010; 25(3):230-41. · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Stewart G, McGeown WJ, Shanks MF, Venneri A. Anosognosia for memory impairment in Alzheimer's disease.Objective: To investigate whether patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) were able to alter their awareness of memory deficits after exposure to a memory task.Methods: Thirty normal older adults and 23 mild AD patients participated in the study. Anosognosia was assessed using discrepancies between self- and informant-evaluations of cognitive and functional performance. Participants estimated their performance on the Verbal Paired Associates task at different points in time (before, immediately after the task and after a 1-h delay).Results: AD patients were generally less able to judge their memory abilities than healthy older adults, and tended to overestimate their task performance beforehand. Their prediction accuracy increased immediately after the task, but after a 1-h delay, they again misjudged their abilities at pretesting accuracy levels. Self-carer discrepancy scores of awareness of deficits in memory and other areas correlated significantly with memory tests but not with other neuropsychological tasks in the assessment, and larger discrepancy scores were associated with poorer performance.Conclusion: AD patients can monitor their task performance online, but are unable to maintain awareness of their deficits over time. Loss of awareness of memory deficits (or of any other deficits) in early stage AD may indicate damage to a system which updates a personal knowledge base with recent information. Failure to retain this information impedes abstraction from episodic to semantic memory.
    Acta Neuropsychiatrica 07/2010; 22(4):180 - 187. · 0.61 Impact Factor
  • Katija Khan, Michael F. Shanks, Annalena Venneri
    Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2010; 6(4):S480. · 17.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuroimaging studies of cholinesterase inhibitor (ChEI) treatment in Alzheimer's disease (AD) have shown the different short and long term actions of ChEIs. fMRI studies of the ChEI donepezil have focused on its short to medium term action without exploring the effects of established treatment. In this exploratory study the effect of 20 weeks donepezil treatment on regional brain activity was measured with fMRI in patients with mild AD. Twelve patients with probable AD and nine age-matched controls were assessed with a Pyramids and Palm Trees semantic association fMRI paradigm and an n-back working memory fMRI paradigm. In the patient group only, the assessment was repeated after 20 weeks of treatment. After treatment, differences from normal healthy elderly became more pronounced. There was also a spread of deactivation which at retest was detectable in task relevant areas. Behaviourally, however, there were no significant differences between group baseline and retest scores, with a range of performance probably reflecting variation in drug efficacy across patients. Parametric analyses established that increased behavioural scores at retest correlated significantly with higher activation levels in non task relevant areas. Behavioural stability with donepezil treatment was not paralleled by the pattern of improved task specific brain activation reported in similar studies of other ChEIs. This is arguably related to the different mechanisms of action of the ChEIs and might be a clinical correlate of the reported synaptic upregulation following long term donepezil treatment.
    Current Alzheimer research 05/2010; 7(5):415-27. · 4.97 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimers & Dementia - ALZHEIMERS DEMENT. 01/2010; 6(4).
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    ABSTRACT: A patient who suffered a transient global amnesia (TGA) attack underwent regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) SPECT imaging and neuropsychological testing in the acute phase, after one month and after one year. Neuropsychological testing in the acute phase showed a pattern of anterograde and retrograde amnesia, whereas memory was within age normal limits at follow up. SPECT data were analysed with a within subject comparison and also compared with those of a group of healthy controls. Within subject comparison between the one month follow up and the acute phase detected increases in rCBF in the hippocampus bilaterally; further rCBF increases in the right hippocampus were detected after one year. Compared to controls, significant hypoperfusion was found in the right precentral, cingulate and medial frontal gyri in the acute phase; after one month significant hypoperfusion was detected in the right precentral and cingulate gyri and the left postcentral gyrus; after one year no significant hypoperfusion appeared. The restoration of memory was paralleled by rCBF increases in the hippocampus and fronto-limbic-parietal cortex; after one year neither significant rCBF differences nor cognitive deficits were detectable. In conclusion, these data indicate that TGA had no long lasting cognitive and neural alterations in this patient.
    Behavioural neurology 01/2010; 22(3-4):131-9. · 1.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Asomatognosia is broadly defined as unawareness of ownership of one's arm, while somatoparaphrenia is a subtype in which patients also display delusional misidentification and confabulation. Studies differ with regard to the underlying neuroanatomy of these syndromes. Three groups of patients with right-hemisphere strokes and left hemiplegia were analysed: G1, asomatognosia+neglect; G2, non-asomatognosia+neglect; G3, hemiplegia only. The asomatognosic group was further subdivided into somatoparaphrenia (G1-SP: asomatognosia+delusions/confabulation) and simple asomatognosia (G1-SA; asomatognosia without delusions/confabulation). Patients with all forms of asomatognosia (G1) had larger lesions than non-asomatognosic patients in all sectors. While patients with or without asomatognosia had significant temporoparietal involvement, we found that the subset of patients with somatoparaphrenia had the largest lesions overall, and somatoparaphrenia cases had significantly more frontal involvement than patients with simple asomatognosia. All patients with asomotognosia (G1-SP and G1-SA) had significant medial frontal damage, suggesting that this region may play a role in the development of asomatognosia in general. Somatoparaphrenia cases also had greater orbitofrontal damage than simple asomatognosia cases, suggesting that the orbitofrontal lesion was critical in the development of somatoparaphrenia. Asomatognosia results from large lesions involving multiple--including temporoparietal--sectors, but the addition of medial frontal involvement appears important. The addition of orbitofrontal dysfunction distinguishes somatoparaphrenia from simple asomatognosia. The data indicate roles for the right medial and orbitofrontal regions in confabulation and self-related systems.
    Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 09/2009; 81(3):276-81. · 4.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The 'default mode' network refers to cortical areas that are active in the absence of goal-directed activity. In previous studies, decreased activity in the 'default mode' has always been associated with increased activation in task-relevant areas. We show that the induction of hypnosis can reduce anterior default mode activity during rest without increasing activity in other cortical regions. We assessed brain activation patterns of high and low suggestible people while resting in the fMRI scanner and while engaged in visual tasks, in and out of hypnosis. High suggestible participants in hypnosis showed decreased brain activity in the anterior parts of the default mode circuit. In low suggestible people, hypnotic induction produced no detectable changes in these regions, but instead deactivated areas involved in alertness. The findings indicate that hypnotic induction creates a distinctive and unique pattern of brain activation in highly suggestible subjects.
    Consciousness and Cognition 09/2009; 18(4):848-55. · 2.31 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
468.12 Total Impact Points


  • 2011–2014
    • 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
  • 2002–2013
    • Università degli studi di Parma
      • Dipartimento di Neuroscienze
      Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 2012
    • Durham University
      • Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit
      Durham, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 1993–2009
    • Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia
      Modène, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 2006
    • University College London
      • Institute of Child Health
      London, ENG, United Kingdom
    • The University of York
      • Department of Psychology
      York, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2004–2006
    • Catholic University of Louvain
      Walloon Region, Belgium
  • 2005
    • University of Padova
      • Department of General Psychology
      Padova, Veneto, Italy
  • 2004–2005
    • The Robert Gordon University
      • School of Applied Social Studies
      Aberdeen, SCT, United Kingdom
  • 1996–2004
    • University of Aberdeen
      • • School of Psychology
      • • School of Engineering
      Aberdeen, SCT, United Kingdom
  • 2002–2003
    • University of Milan
      • Department of Health Science - DISS
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2000
    • Università degli Studi di Palermo
      Palermo, Sicily, Italy