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Brain Lang. 2017 Jul;170:93-102. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2017.04.004. Epub 2017 Apr 20.

Comprehension of concrete and abstract words in semantic variant primary progressive aphasia and Alzheimer's disease: A behavioral and neuroimaging study.

Author information

1
Département de psychologie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada; Centre de recherche Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (CRIUGM), Montréal, QC, Canada. Electronic address: sven.joubert@umontreal.ca.
2
Département de psychologie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada; Centre de recherche Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (CRIUGM), Montréal, QC, Canada.
3
Centre de recherche de l'Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec (CRIUSMQ), Canada; Département de réadaptation, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada.
4
Clinique Interdisciplinaire de Mémoire (CIME), CHU de Québec, QC, Canada; Département des Sciences Neurologiques, Université Laval, QC, Canada.
5
Département de psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada; Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM), Montréal, QC, Canada.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the comprehension of concrete, abstract and abstract emotional words in semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA), Alzheimer's disease (AD), and healthy elderly adults (HE) Three groups of participants (9 svPPA, 12 AD, 11 HE) underwent a general neuropsychological assessment, a similarity judgment task, and structural brain MRI. The three types of words were processed similarly in the group of AD participants. In contrast, patients in the svPPA group were significantly more impaired at processing concrete words than abstract words, while comprehension of abstract emotional words was in between. VBM analyses showed that comprehension of concrete words relative to abstract words was significantly correlated with atrophy in the left anterior temporal lobe. These results support the view that concrete words are disproportionately impaired in svPPA, and that concrete and abstract words may rely upon partly dissociable brain regions.

KEYWORDS:

Abstract words; Alzheimer’s disease (AD); Conceptual knowledge; Concrete words; Semantic memory; Semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA)

PMID:
28432988
DOI:
10.1016/j.bandl.2017.04.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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