The anatomical bases of semantic retrieval deficits in early Alzheimer's disease

Annalena Venneri, William J. McGeown, Heidi M. Hietanen, Chiara Guerrini, Andrew W. Ellis, Michael F. Shanks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Semantic abilities deteriorate early in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and their residual language is characterised by strong lexical effects such as the age of acquisition of words and their typicality. The anatomical bases of this early semantic degradation have not been fully explored. To clarify which neural structures, when atrophic, alter lexical-semantic function in patients with very mild AD, this study correlated the lexical attributes of words produced in a semantic fluency task with grey matter density values from 3D MRI scans of mild AD patients. The voxel-based analyses showed a significant correlation between the lexical attributes characterising residual linguistic production in early AD patients and the integrity of regions of the medial temporal lobes, especially in areas of the perirhinal and parahippocampal cortex. This correlation was present in both hemispheres. There were no correlations within these structures with scores on neuropsychological tests not involving semantic or episodic memory. The results have implications for the role of medial temporal structures in episodic and semantic retrieval and argue against a unitary function of these structures in respect of episodic and semantic memory processes. This evidence suggests that specialised regions within the hippocampal complex engage in processes of encoding and retrieval for both semantic and episodic memories.

LanguageEnglish
Pages497-510
Number of pages14
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume46
Issue number2
Early online date6 Sep 2007
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Fingerprint

Semantics
Alzheimer Disease
Episodic Memory
Aptitude
Neuropsychological Tests
Temporal Lobe
Linguistics
Language
Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Keywords

  • mild cognitive impairment
  • memory consolidation
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • perithinal
  • category fluency
  • voxel-based morphometry
  • semantic retrieval

Cite this

Venneri, Annalena ; McGeown, William J. ; Hietanen, Heidi M. ; Guerrini, Chiara ; Ellis, Andrew W. ; Shanks, Michael F. / The anatomical bases of semantic retrieval deficits in early Alzheimer's disease. In: Neuropsychologia. 2008 ; Vol. 46, No. 2. pp. 497-510.
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The anatomical bases of semantic retrieval deficits in early Alzheimer's disease. / Venneri, Annalena; McGeown, William J.; Hietanen, Heidi M.; Guerrini, Chiara; Ellis, Andrew W.; Shanks, Michael F.

In: Neuropsychologia, Vol. 46, No. 2, 2008, p. 497-510.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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