Verbal fluency performance in dementia of the Alzheimer’s type: A meta-analysis

Henry, Julie D., Crawford, John R. and Phillips, Louise H. (2004) Verbal fluency performance in dementia of the Alzheimer’s type: A meta-analysis. Neuropsychologia, 42 9: 1212-1222. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2004.02.001

Author Henry, Julie D.
Crawford, John R.
Phillips, Louise H.
Title Verbal fluency performance in dementia of the Alzheimer’s type: A meta-analysis
Journal name Neuropsychologia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0028-3932
Publication date 2004-03-20
Year available 2004
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2004.02.001
Volume 42
Issue 9
Start page 1212
End page 1222
Total pages 11
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publisher Pergamon-Elesvier Science Ltd
Collection year 2005
Language eng
Formatted abstract
A meta-analysis of 153 studies with 15,990 participants was conducted to compare the magnitude of deficits upon tests of phonemic and semantic fluency for patients with dementia of the Alzheimer’s type (DAT) relative to healthy controls. As has been found for patients with focal temporal cortical lesions (but not for patients with focal frontal cortical lesions), DAT patients were significantly more impaired on tests of semantic relative to phonemic fluency (r=0.73 and 0.57, respectively). Thus, since phonemic and semantic fluency are considered to impose comparable demands upon executive control processes such as effortful retrieval, but the latter is relatively more dependent upon the integrity of semantic memory, these results suggest that the semantic memory deficit in DAT reflects a degradation of the semantic store. Also supporting this conclusion, confrontation naming, a measure of semantic memory that imposes only minimal demands upon effortful retrieval, was significantly more impaired than phonemic fluency (r=0.60 versus 0.55, respectively). However, since semantic fluency was also significantly more impaired than confrontation naming (r=0.73 versus 0.61), deficits in semantic memory and effortful retrieval may be additive. Semantic, but not phonemic fluency, was significantly more impaired than measures of verbal intelligence and psychomotor speed. Thus, the semantic memory deficit in DAT qualifies as a differential deficit, but executive dysfunction as indexed by phonemic fluency does not constitute an additional isolated feature of the disorder. Dementia severity was not significantly related to the relative magnitude of deficits upon phonemic and semantic fluency.
Keyword Semantic memory
Executive functioning
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown
Additional Notes First published online 20th March, 2004, Print May 2004

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 205 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 18 Apr 2011, 13:01:50 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology