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J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 1998 Mar;4(2):137-43.

Clustering and switching on verbal fluency tests in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

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Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Geriatric Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.


Two components of verbal fluency performance--clustering (i.e., generating words within subcategories) and switching (i.e., shifting between subcategories)--were examined in patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT), patients with dementia with Parkinson's disease (DPD), nondemented patients with Parkinson's disease (NPD), and demographically matched controls. The DAT and DPD groups were impaired in the number of words generated on both phonemic and semantic fluency. The DAT group produced smaller clusters on both tasks and switched less often on semantic fluency than controls. The DPD group switched less often on both tasks and produced smaller clusters on phonemic fluency than controls. The NPD group was not impaired on any fluency variable. Thus, the total number of words generated on phonemic and semantic fluency did not discriminate the dementia groups from their respective control groups, but measures of clustering and switching did. This differential pattern of performance provides evidence for the potential usefulness of measures of switching and clustering in the assessment of dementia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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