Generative Fluency in Motor Neuron Disease

Rosemary Argall (2014). Generative Fluency in Motor Neuron Disease Professional Doctorate, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Rosemary Argall
Thesis Title Generative Fluency in Motor Neuron Disease
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2014-02-04
Thesis type Professional Doctorate
Supervisor Dr Gail Robinson
Total pages 176
Language eng
Subjects 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
170101 Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology)
1701 Psychology
1702 Cognitive Sciences
Abstract/Summary Abstract Motor Neuron Disease (MND) is a debilitating neurodegenerative disease of the upper and lower motor neurons, of unknown cause. In addition to the typical upper and lower motor neuron symptoms, cognitive, language and behavioural deficits have also been documented in an estimated 50% of MND patients, suggesting it is a multi-system disorder (Ringholz et al., 2005; Tsermentseli, Leigh, & Goldstein, 2012). The present study aimed firstly to investigate the cognitive, language and behavioural characteristics of an unselected MND sample as a group and as a case series. Secondly, as impairments on tasks of word fluency have been widely reported in MND patients, generative fluency in MND was investigated using four different fluency tasks (word, design, gesture and ideational fluency). Seventeen MND patients and 19 age, education and IQ matched controls completed an extensive battery of cognitive and language tests. Behavioural change was assessed by the Frontal Systems Rating Scale and current apathy was assessed by the Apathy Evaluation Scale. The case series demonstrated that 18% of patients had probable dementia, 41% showed significant cognitive and/or language impairment and 41% were unimpaired, consistent with the spectrum of impairments reported in the literature. The MND group showed impaired performance on measures sensitive to fronto-temporal lobar degeneration including elevated apathy, reduced spontaneous speech, impaired action naming, sentence comprehension, verbal memory, response initiation, and generative fluency (phonemic and semantic word, fixed design, meaningful gesture and unconventional ideational fluency tasks). Impaired action naming in the present sample supports the notion that action processing may be selectively impaired in MND (Bak, O'Donovan, Xuereb, Boniface, & Hodges, 2001; M. Grossman et al., 2008). The results indicated that while phonemic word fluency was the most sensitive task to executive difficulties in MND, there is evidence for broader generative fluency deficits. Impairments on generative fluency were not related to apathy, or suggestive of a primary generation or energization deficit. The pattern of performance observed in the present study suggests that cognitive processes involved in retrieval of semantic information may be impaired in MND.
Keyword Neuropsychology Motor Neuron Disease Generative Fluency Psychology

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Created: Tue, 04 Feb 2014, 14:01:38 EST by Rosemary Argall on behalf of Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences