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Brain. 1999 Jan;122 ( Pt 1):61-73.

Disrupted temporal lobe connections in semantic dementia.

Author information

1
Wellcome Department of Cognitive Neurology, Institute of Neurology, London, UK. c.mummery@fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk

Erratum in

  • Brain. 2007 Mar;130(Pt 3):879. Vandenbergh, R [corrected to Vandenberghe, R].

Abstract

Semantic dementia refers to the variant of frontotemporal dementia in which there is progressive semantic deterioration and anomia in the face of relative preservation of other language and cognitive functions. Structural imaging and SPECT studies of such patients have suggested that the site of damage, and by inference the region critical to semantic processing, is the anterolateral temporal lobe, especially on the left. Recent functional imaging studies of normal participants have revealed a network of areas involved in semantic tasks. The present study used PET to examine the consequences of focal damage to the anterolateral temporal cortex for the operation of this semantic network. We measured PET activation associated with a semantic decision task relative to a visual decision task in four patients with semantic dementia compared with six age-matched normal controls. Normals activated a network of regions consistent with previous studies. The patients activated some areas consistently with the normals, including some regions of significant atrophy, but showed substantially reduced activity particularly in the left posterior inferior temporal gyrus (iTG) (Brodmann area 37/19). Voxel-based morphometry, used to identify the regions of structural deficit, revealed significant anterolateral temporal atrophy (especially on the left), but no significant structural damage to the posterior inferior temporal lobe. Other evidence suggests that the left posterior iTG is critically involved in lexical-phonological retrieval: the lack of activation here is consistent with the observation that these patients are all anomic. We conclude that changes in activity in regions distant from the patients' structural damage support the argument that their prominent anomia is due to disrupted temporal lobe connections.

PMID:
10050895
DOI:
10.1093/brain/122.1.61
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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