This is actually a good test for figure out whether someone has problems with semantic knowledge. Semantic processing has its seat in the left temporal lobe. “The semantic system is organized in networks that reflect different types of relatedness or association,” the investigators wrote in their study. “Semantic items and knowledge have been acquired remotely, often over many repetitions, and do not reflect recent learning.”
Dr. Goldberg said the finding is critically important because it may be possible to strengthen these semantic processing connections through training. “It tells us that something is slowing down the patient and it is not episodic memory but semantic memory," he said. They will continue to study these patients over time to see if these semantic problems get worse as the disease advances.
In an accompanying editorial, David P. Salmon, PhD, of the Department of Neurosciences at the University of California in San Diego, said that the “semantic memory deficit demonstrated by this study adds confidence to the growing perception that subtle decline in this cognitive domain occurs in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Because the task places minimal demands on the effortful retrieval process, overt word retrieval, or language production, it also suggests that this deficit reflects an early and gradual loss of integrity of semantic knowledge.”
He added that a “second important aspect of this study is the demonstration that semantic memory decrements in patients with mild cognitive impairment may contribute to a decline in the ability to perform usual activities of daily living.”
About The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Headquartered in Manhasset, NY, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in many areas including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer’s dise
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