Lexical semantic memory in amnestic mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer's disease

Marcio L F Balthazar, José E Martinelli, Fernando Cendes, Benito P Damasceno
Arquivos de Neuro-psiquiatria 2007, 65 (3): 619-22

OBJECTIVE: To study lexical semantic memory in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) and normal controls.

METHOD: Fifteen mild AD, 15 aMCI, and 15 normal control subjects were included. Diagnosis of AD was based on DSM-IV and NINCDS-ADRDA criteria, and that of aMCI, on the criteria of the International Working Group on Mild Cognitive Impairment, using CDR 0.5 for aMCI and CDR 1 for mild AD. All subjects underwent semantic memory tests (Boston Naming-BNT, CAMCOG Similarities item), Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE), neuropsychological tests (counterproofs), and Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia. Data analysis used Mann-Whitney test for intergroup comparisons and Pearson's coefficient for correlations between memory tests and counterproofs (statistical significance level was p<0.05).

RESULTS: aMCI patients were similar to controls on BNT and Similarities, but worse on MMSE and RAVLT. Mild AD patients scored significantly worse than aMCI and controls on all tests.

CONCLUSION: aMCI impairs episodic memory but tends to spare lexical semantic system, which can be affected in the early phase of AD.

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