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Dementia & Neuropsychologia

Print version ISSN 1980-5764

Dement. neuropsychol. vol.1 no.2 São Paulo Apr./June 2007 

Original Articles

Category verbal fluency performance may be impaired in amnestic mild cognitive impairment

A fluência verbal para categoria pode estar alterada no comprometimento cognitivo leve amnéstico

Márcio Luiz Figueredo Balthazar 1  

Fernando Cendes 2  

Benito Pereira Damasceno 3  

1Postgraduate Neurologist.

2Associate Professor.

3Professor, Department of Neurology, Medical School, State University of Campinas - SP, Brazil.


To study category verbal fluency (VF) for animals in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), mild Alzheimer disease (AD) and normal controls.


Fifteen mild AD, 15 aMCI, and 15 normal control subjects were included. Diagnosis of AD was based on DSM-IV and NINCDS-ADRDA criteria, while aMCI was based on the criteria of the International Working Group on Mild Cognitive Impairment, using CDR 0.5 for aMCI and CDR 1 for mild AD. All subjects underwent testing of category VF for animals, lexical semantic function (Boston Naming-BNT, CAMCOG Similarities item), WAIS-R forward and backward digit span, Rey Auditory Verbal Learning (RAVLT), Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE), and other task relevant functions such as visual perception, attention, and mood state (with Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia). Data analysis used ANOVA and a post-hoc Tukey test for intergroup comparisons, and Pearson's coefficient for correlations of memory and FV tests with other task relevant functions (statistical significance level was p<0.05).


aMCI patients had lower performance than controls on category VF for animals and on the backward digit span subtest of WAIS-R but higher scores compared with mild AD patients. Mild AD patients scored significantly worse than aMCI and controls across all tests.


aMCI patients may have poor performance in some non-memory tests, specifically category VF for animals in our study, where this could be attributable to the influence of working memory.

Key Words: verbal fluency; mild cognitive impairment; Alzheimer disease; neuropsychological tests.


Estudar a fluência verbal (FV) para a categoria animais no comprometimento cognitivo leve amnéstico (aCCL), doença de Alzheimer (DA) leve e controles normais.


Incluímos 15 pacientes com DA leve, 15 com aCCL e 15 controles normais, usando os critérios DSM-IV, NINCDS-ADRDA e CDR 1 para DA, e os do International Working Group on Mild Cognitive Impairment, e CDR 0,5 para aCCL. Todos os sujeitos passaram por avaliação da FV para a categoria animais, função léxico-semântica (Teste de nomeação de Boston - TNB, item de Similaridades do CAMCOG), extensão de dígitos direto e indireto do WAIS-R, aprendizado auditivo-verbal de Rey (TAAVR), Mini-Exame do Estado Mental (MEEM), e de outras funções (contraprovas) capazes de influenciar nestes testes, como percepção visual, atenção e estado de humor (este com a Escala Cornell para Depressão em Demência). A análise dos dados usou o teste de análise de variância (ANOVA) seguido do teste de Tukey post hoc para comparações entre os grupos e o coeficiente de Pearson para correlação entre testes e contraprovas (nível de significância p<0,05).


Os pacientes com aCCL tiveram performance inferior à dos controles nos testes de FV para animais e na extensão de dígitos indireta do WAIS-R. Pacientes com DA leve tiveram performance inferior à de sujeitos com aCCL e controles em todos os testes.


Pacientes com aCCL tiveram desempenho rebaixado em testes de fluência verbal para animais, o que pode ter sido influenciado pela memória operacional.

Palavras-chave: fluência verbal; comprometimento cognitivo leve; doença de Alzheimer; testes neuropsicológicos.

Texto completo disponível apenas em PDF.

Full text available only in PDF format.


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Dr. Benito P. Damasceno - Department of Neurology, Medical School, State University of Campinas - Box 6111 - 13083-970 Campinas SP - Brazil. E-mail:

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