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J Neurol Sci. 2015 May 15;352(1-2):94-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2015.03.007. Epub 2015 Mar 11.

Identification of environmental sounds and melodies in syndromes of anterior temporal lobe degeneration.

Author information

1
Dementia Research Centre, UCL Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
2
Dementia Research Centre, UCL Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, United Kingdom. Electronic address: jason.warren@ucl.ac.uk.

Abstract

Recognition of nonverbal sounds in semantic dementia and other syndromes of anterior temporal lobe degeneration may determine clinical symptoms and help to define phenotypic profiles. However, nonverbal auditory semantic function has not been widely studied in these syndromes. Here we investigated semantic processing in two key nonverbal auditory domains - environmental sounds and melodies - in patients with semantic dementia (SD group; n=9) and in patients with anterior temporal lobe atrophy presenting with behavioural decline (TL group; n=7, including four cases with MAPT mutations) in relation to healthy older controls (n=20). We assessed auditory semantic performance in each domain using novel, uniform within-modality neuropsychological procedures that determined sound identification based on semantic classification of sound pairs. Both the SD and TL groups showed comparable overall impairments of environmental sound and melody identification; individual patients generally showed superior identification of environmental sounds than melodies, however relative sparing of melody over environmental sound identification also occurred in both groups. Our findings suggest that nonverbal auditory semantic impairment is a common feature of neurodegenerative syndromes with anterior temporal lobe atrophy. However, the profile of auditory domain involvement varies substantially between individuals.

KEYWORDS:

Environmental sounds; Frontotemporal dementia; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Music; Semantic; Semantic dementia

PMID:
25843288
PMCID:
PMC4425361
DOI:
10.1016/j.jns.2015.03.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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