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Distinct Patterns and Clinical Implications of Semantic Memory Deterioration Among Patients With MCI

Hsin-Te Chang, Ming-Jang Chiu, Ta-Fu Chen, Ting-Wen Cheng, Mau-Sun Hua
Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders 2015, 29 (2): 124-34
Limited research has investigated the effects of executive dysfunction on semantic memory deterioration among patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). This study examined the cognitive performance of 181 participants from various MCI subgroups, a group of mildly impaired individuals with dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) and a group of individuals with subjective memory impairment on various semantic memory tasks. The aMCI-single domain (aMCI-sd) group displayed poor performance on a semantic memory task requiring relatively higher degrees of effortful retrieval, and participants in the aMCI-multiple domain (aMCI-md) group, who also suffered with mild executive dysfunction displayed poor performance on all semantic memory tasks, similar to the DAT group. The nonamnestic MCI (non-a-MCI)-single domain group displayed normal performance across all semantic tasks, whereas the non-a-MCI-multiple domain group displayed a pattern similar to that of the aMCI-sd group. aMCI-sd patients who displayed poor performance on the semantic memory task had higher risk of conversion to DAT, whereas poor performance on tasks requiring relatively less effortful retrieval was associated with higher risk of conversion in the aMCI-md group. Thus, executive function may relate to deterioration of semantic memory retrieval processes. Such patterns of semantic memory impairment could be valuable for characterization of cognitive differences among MCI patients.


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