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Dementia & Neuropsychologia

Print version ISSN 1980-5764

Dement. neuropsychol. vol.5 no.2 São Paulo Apr./June 2011

https://doi.org/10.1590/S1980-57642011DN05020003 

Original Articles

Neural correlates of lexical-semantic memory: A voxel-based morphometry study in mild AD, aMCI and normal aging

Correlatos neurais da memória lexical-semântica: um estudo de morfometria baseada em voxel na doença de Alzheimer, comprometimento cognitivo leve amnéstico e envelhecimento normal.

Marcio L.F. Balthazar 1  

Clarissa L. Yasuda 1  

Tátila M. Lopes 1  

Fabrício R.S. Pereira 1  

Benito Pereira Damasceno 1  

Fernando Cendes 1  

1-Laboratory of Neuroimaging, Department of Neurology, Medical School, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas SP, Brazil.


Abstract

Neuroanatomical correlations of naming and lexical-semantic memory are not yet fully understood. The most influential approaches share the view that semantic representations reflect the manner in which information has been acquired through perception and action, and that each brain area processes different modalities of semantic representations. Despite these anatomical differences in semantic processing, generalization across different features that have similar semantic significance is one of the main characteristics of human cognition.

Methods:

We evaluated the brain regions related to naming, and to the semantic generalization, of visually presented drawings of objects from the Boston Naming Test (BNT), which comprises different categories, such as animals, vegetables, tools, food, and furniture. In order to create a model of lesion method, a sample of 48 subjects presenting with a continuous decline both in cognitive functions, including naming skills, and in grey matter density (GMD) was compared to normal young adults with normal aging, amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) and mild Alzheimer's disease (AD). Semantic errors on the BNT, as well as naming performance, were correlated with whole brain GMD as measured by voxel-based morphometry (VBM).

Results:

The areas most strongly related to naming and to semantic errors were the medial temporal structures, thalami, superior and inferior temporal gyri, especially their anterior parts, as well as prefrontal cortices (inferior and superior frontal gyri).

Conclusion:

The possible role of each of these areas in the lexical-semantic networks was discussed, along with their contribution to the models of semantic memory organization.

Key words: semantic memory; naming; voxel-based morphometry; Alzheimer's disease; mild cognitive impairment.

Resumo

As correlações neuroanatômicas de nomeação e memória lexical-semântica não são totalmente entendidas. As abordagens mais influentes compartilham a idéia de que representações refletem a maneira na qual a informação foi adquirida por meio da percepção e ação e que cada área do cérebro processa diferentes modalidades de representações semânticas. Apesar destas diferenças anatômicas no processamento semântico, a generalização de diferentes aspectos que tem significância semântica análoga é uma das principais características da cognição humana.

Métodos:

Nós avaliamos as regiões cerebrais relacionadas à nomeação e à generalização semântica de desenhos de objetos visualmente apresentados do Teste de Nomeação de Boston (TNB), que compreende diferentes categorias, como animais, vegetais, utensílios, comida e móveis. Para criar um modelo de método de lesão, nós investigamos uma amostra de 48 pessoas que demonstraram um declínio contínuo em funções cognitivas, incluindo habilidades de nomeação e em densidade de substância cinzenta (DSC) em relação a adultos jovens: envelhecimento normal, comprometimento cognitivo leve amnéstico (CCLa) e doença de Alzheimer (DA). Nós correlacionamos seus erros semânticos no TNB, assim como seus desempenhos de nomeação, com a DSC de todo o cérebro que foi medido por morfometria baseada em vóxel (MBV).

Resultados:

As áreas que mais se relacionaram à nomeação e aos erros semânticos foram as estruturas mediais temporais, tálamo, giro temporal superior e inferior, especialmente em suas partes anteriores e os córtices pré-frontais (giro frontal inferior e superior).

Conclusão:

Discutimos o provável papel de cada uma dessas áreas na rede lexical-semântica e sua contribuição para os modelos de organização semântica.

Palavras-chave: memória semântica; nomeação; morfometria baseada em voxel; doença de Alzheimer; comprometimento cognitivo leve.

Texto completo disponível apenas em PDF.

Full text available only in PDF format.

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Received: February 08, 2011; Accepted: April 22, 2011

Marcio L.F. Balthazar - Department of Neurology / Medical School / University of Campinas (UNICAMP) - Box 6111 - 13083-970 Campinas SP, Brazil. E-mail: mbalth@gmail.com

Disclosure: The authors reports no conflicts of interest.

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