The cognitive and neural expression of semantic memory impairment in mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer's disease

Département de psychologie et CERNEC, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Québec, Canada.
Neuropsychologia (Impact Factor: 3.3). 11/2009; 48(4):978-88. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.11.019
Source: PubMed


Semantic deficits in Alzheimer's disease have been widely documented, but little is known about the integrity of semantic memory in the prodromal stage of the illness. The aims of the present study were to: (i) investigate naming abilities and semantic memory in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), early Alzheimer's disease (AD) compared to healthy older subjects; (ii) investigate the association between naming and semantic knowledge in aMCI and AD; (iii) examine if the semantic impairment was present in different modalities; and (iv) study the relationship between semantic performance and grey matter volume using voxel-based morphometry. Results indicate that both naming and semantic knowledge of objects and famous people were impaired in aMCI and early AD groups, when compared to healthy age- and education-matched controls. Item-by-item analyses showed that anomia in aMCI and early AD was significantly associated with underlying semantic knowledge of famous people but not with semantic knowledge of objects. Moreover, semantic knowledge of the same concepts was impaired in both the visual and the verbal modalities. Finally, voxel-based morphometry analyses revealed that semantic impairment in aMCI and AD was associated with cortical atrophy in the anterior temporal lobe (ATL) region as well as in the inferior prefrontal cortex (IPC), some of the key regions of the semantic cognition network. These findings suggest that the semantic impairment in aMCI may result from a breakdown of semantic knowledge of famous people and objects, combined with difficulties in the selection, manipulation and retrieval of this knowledge.

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    • "Although response inhibition in the real world is often based on how objects we encounter are categorized (e.g., when walking through the woods, deciding whether to take a step or not when a rope versus a snake is encountered), to our knowledge, none have studied the Go/NoGo paradigm in aMCI in the context of semantic categorization. Given that semantic memory deficits have been observed in behavioral697071727374and ERP[75,76]studies in aMCI, examining response execution and inhibition in the context of semantic categorization could provide useful information as to whether these operations interact in individuals with aMCI. Semantic categorization (e.g., categorizing items as animate versus inanimate) allows for meaningful organization of objects in our surrounding environment77787980. "
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    ABSTRACT: We examined the effects of amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) on behavioral (response times and error rates) and scalp-recorded event-related potential (ERP) measures of response execution and inhibition, using Go/NoGo tasks involving basic and superordinate semantic categorization. Twenty-five aMCI (16 F; 68.5±8 years) and 25 age- and gender-matched normal control subjects (16 F; 65.4±7.1 years) completed two visual Go/NoGo tasks. In the single car task, responses were made based on single exemplars of a car (Go) and a dog (NoGo) (basic). In the object animal task, responses were based on multiple exemplars of objects (Go) and animals (NoGo) (superordinate). The aMCI subjects had higher commission errors on the NoGo trials compared to the control subjects, whereas both groups had comparable omission errors and reaction times during the Go trials. The aMCI subjects had significantly prolonged N2 ERP latency during Go and NoGo trials across tasks compared to the controls. Both groups showed similar categorization effects and response type effects in N2/P3 ERP latencies and P3 amplitude. Our findings indicate that altered early neural processing indexed by N2 latency distinguishes subjects with aMCI from controls during the Go/NoGo task. Prolonged Go-N2 latency in aMCI appears to precede behavioral changes in response execution, whereas prolonged NoGo-N2 latency underlies behavioral deterioration in response inhibition.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD
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    • "Specifically, MCI individuals exhibit a deficit in the sentence–picture matching task (Taler & Jarema, 2004), no advantage in processing ambiguous words in lexical decision task compared to controls (Taler & Jarema, 2006), impaired semantic categorization (Olichney et al., 2002), impaired semantic encoding (Puregger et al., 2003), impaired naming and semantic knowledge of objects (Joubert et al., 2010), as well as impaired semantic priming (Davie et al., 2004; Manouilidou et al., 2014). Verbal fluency has proven to be a controversial domain for MCI. "
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    ABSTRACT: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) affects the cognitive performance of elderly adults. However, the level of severity is not high enough to be diagnosed with dementia. Previous research reports subtle language impairments in individuals with MCI specifically in domains related to lexical meaning. The present study used both off-line (grammaticality judgment) and on-line (lexical decision) tasks to examine aspects of lexical processing and how they are affected by MCI. 21 healthy older adults and 23 individuals with MCI saw complex pseudo-words that violated various principles of word formation in Slovenian and decided if each letter string was an actual word of their language. The pseudo-words ranged in their degree of violability. A task effect was found, with MCI performance to be similar to that of healthy controls in the off-line task but different in the on-line task. Overall, the MCI group responded slower than the elderly controls. No significant differences were observed in the off-line task, while the on-line task revealed a main effect of Violation type, a main effect of Group and a significant Violation × Group interaction reflecting a difficulty for the MCI group to process pseudo-words in real time. That is, while individuals with MCI seem to preserve morphological rule knowledge, they experience additional difficulties while processing complex pseudo-words. This was attributed to an executive dysfunction associated with MCI that delays the recognition of ungrammatical formations.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics
    • "Semantic deficits have been documented in AD using a variety of standard clinical neuropsychological tests (Huff et al., 1986; Rosser and Hodges, 1994; Hodges and Patterson, 1995; Adlam et al., 2006) and using more specific measures (Chertkow and Bub, 1990; Hodges et al., 1992; Greene and Hodges, 1996; Fung et al., 2001; Thompson et al., 2002; Whatmough et al., 2003; Joubert et al., 2010). Working memory deficits are also frequently reported in AD and involve reduced span for words, digits, letters and spatial locations (Grossi et al., 1993; Belleville et al., 1996). "
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    ABSTRACT: The goal of this study was to investigate the specific patterns of memory breakdown in patients suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) and late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD). Twenty EOAD patients, twenty LOAD patients, twenty matched younger controls, and twenty matched older controls participated in this study. All participants underwent a detailed neuropsychological assessment, an MRI scan, an FDG-PET scan, and AD patients had biomarkers as supporting evidence of both amyloïdopathy and neuronal injury. Results of the neuropsychological assessment showed that both EOAD and LOAD groups were impaired in the domains of memory, executive functions, language, praxis, and visuoconstructional abilities, when compared to their respective control groups. EOAD and LOAD groups, however, showed distinct patterns of memory impairment. Even though both groups were similarly affected on measures of episodic, short term and working memory, in contrast semantic memory was significantly more impaired in LOAD than in EOAD patients. The EOAD group was not more affected than the LOAD group in any memory domain. EOAD patients, however, showed significantly poorer performance in other cognitive domains including executive functions and visuoconstructional abilities. A more detailed analysis of the pattern of semantic memory performance among patient groups revealed that the LOAD was more profoundly impaired, in tasks of both spontaneous recall and semantic recognition. Voxel-Based Morphometry (VBM) analyses showed that impaired semantic performance in patients was associated with reduced gray matter volume in the anterior temporal lobe (ATL) region, while PET-FDG analyses revealed that poorer semantic performance was associated with greater hypometabolism in the left temporoparietal region, both areas reflecting key regions of the semantic network. Results of this study indicate that EOAD and LOAD patients present with distinct patterns of memory impairment, and that a genuine semantic impairment may represent one of the clinical hallmarks of LOAD.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Cortex
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