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Category verbal fluency performance may be impaired in amnestic mild cognitive impairment

Márcio Luiz Figueredo Balthazar, Fernando Cendes, Benito Pereira Damasceno
Dementia & Neuropsychologia 2007, 1 (2): 161-165

To study category verbal fluency (VF) for animals in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), mild Alzheimer 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, while aMCI was based 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 testing of category VF for animals, lexical semantic function (Boston Naming-BNT, CAMCOG Similarities item), WAIS-R forward and backward digit span, Rey Auditory Verbal Learning (RAVLT), Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE), and other task relevant functions such as visual perception, attention, and mood state (with Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia). Data analysis used ANOVA and a post-hoc Tukey test for intergroup comparisons, and Pearson's coefficient for correlations of memory and FV tests with other task relevant functions (statistical significance level was p<0.05).

Results: aMCI patients had lower performance than controls on category VF for animals and on the backward digit span subtest of WAIS-R but higher scores compared with mild AD patients. Mild AD patients scored significantly worse than aMCI and controls across all tests.

Conclusion: aMCI patients may have poor performance in some non-memory tests, specifically category VF for animals in our study, where this could be attributable to the influence of working memory.


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