Visual Discrimination Predicts Naming and Semantic Association Accuracy in Alzheimer Disease

Harnish, Stacy M., Neils-Strunjas, Jean, Eliassen, James, Reilly, Jamie, Meinzer, Marcus, Clark, John Greer and Joseph, Jane (2010) Visual Discrimination Predicts Naming and Semantic Association Accuracy in Alzheimer Disease. Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, 23 4: 231-239. doi:10.1097/WNN.0b013e3181e61cf1

Author Harnish, Stacy M.
Neils-Strunjas, Jean
Eliassen, James
Reilly, Jamie
Meinzer, Marcus
Clark, John Greer
Joseph, Jane
Title Visual Discrimination Predicts Naming and Semantic Association Accuracy in Alzheimer Disease
Journal name Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1543-3633
Publication date 2010-12
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1097/WNN.0b013e3181e61cf1
Open Access Status
Volume 23
Issue 4
Start page 231
End page 239
Total pages 9
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA United States
Publisher Lippincott Williams and Wilkins
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: Language impairment is a common symptom of Alzheimer disease (AD), and is thought to be related to semantic processing. This study examines the contribution of another process, namely visual perception, on measures of confrontation naming and semantic association abilities in persons with probable AD.

Methods: Twenty individuals with probable mild-moderate Alzheimer disease and 20 age-matched controls completed a battery of neuropsychologic measures assessing visual perception, naming, and semantic association ability. Visual discrimination tasks that varied in the degree to which they likely accessed stored structural representations were used to gauge whether structural processing deficits could account for deficits in naming and in semantic association in AD.

Results: Visual discrimination abilities of nameable objects in AD strongly predicted performance on both picture naming and semantic association ability, but lacked the same predictive value for controls. Although impaired, performance on visual discrimination tests of abstract shapes and novel faces showed no significant relationship with picture naming and semantic association. These results provide additional evidence to support that structural processing deficits exist in AD, and may contribute to object recognition and naming deficits.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that there is a common deficit in discrimination of pictures using nameable objects, picture naming, and semantic association of pictures in AD. Disturbances in structural processing of pictured items may be associated with lexical-semantic impairment in AD, owing to degraded internal storage of structural knowledge. 
Keyword Alzheimer disease
Semantic memory
Visual perception
Confrontation naming
Posterior Cortical Atrophy
Object Recognition
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
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