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Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2013 Aug;28(5):400-10. doi: 10.1093/arclin/act039. Epub 2013 Jun 9.

Similar verbal fluency patterns in amnestic mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.

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Neurobehavior Unit, Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Disproportionately greater deficits in semantic relative to phonemic verbal fluency are seen in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and have been attributed to neurodegenerative changes in the temporal lobe. Amnestic (AMN) mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which often represents incipient AD, is also characterized by early temporal lobe neuropathology, but previous comparisons of verbal fluency between AD and AMN MCI have yielded mixed results. We examined semantic and phonemic verbal fluency performance in 399 individuals (78 AD, 138 AMN MCI, 72 non-amnestic MCI, and 111 cognitively normal controls). Similar verbal fluency patterns were seen in AMN MCI and AD; both groups exhibited disproportionately poorer performance on semantic verbal fluency relative to normal controls. However, relative verbal fluency indices performed more poorly than individual semantic or phonemic verbal fluency indices for discriminating AMN MCI or AD participants from normal controls, suggesting that they are unlikely to provide additional utility for predicting progression from MCI to AD.


Alzheimer's disease; Assessment; Cognition; Dementia; Mild cognitive impairment; Verbal fluency

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