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J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2014 Apr;20(4):402-12. doi: 10.1017/S135561771400006X. Epub 2014 Feb 13.

The "Alzheimer's type" profile of semantic clustering in amnestic mild cognitive impairment.

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  • 11 Department of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.
  • 22 Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.
  • 34 Department of Psychology, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama.
  • 45 Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
  • 57 Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Las Vegas, Nevada.


Impairments in learning and recall have been well established in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). However, a relative dearth of studies has examined the profiles of memory strategy use in persons with aMCI relative to those with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Participants with aMCI, nonamnestic MCI, AD, and healthy older adults were administered the California Verbal Learning Test-II (CVLT-II). Measures of semantic clustering and recall were obtained across learning and delayed recall trials. In addition, we investigated whether deficits in semantic clustering were related to progression from healthy aging to aMCI and from aMCI to AD. The aMCI group displayed similar semantic clustering performance as the AD participants, whereas the AD group showed greater impairments on recall relative to the aMCI participants. Control participants who progressed to aMCI showed reduced semantic clustering at the short delay at baseline compared to individuals who remained diagnostically stable across follow-up visits. These findings show that the ability to engage in an effective memory strategy is compromised in aMCI, before AD has developed, suggesting that disruptions in semantic networks are an early marker of the disease. (JINS, 2014, 20, 1-11).

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