Semantic clustering as a neuropsychological predictor for amnestic-MCI

Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. 2011 May;18(3):280-92. doi: 10.1080/13825585.2010.540642. Epub 2011 Feb 22.


Recent research has demonstrated that patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) show deficits in semantic processing when compared to cognitively healthy individuals. This difference is thought to be attributed to losses in higher cortical systems that are predominantly associated with executive functioning. The first aim of the study will be to determine if differences in semantic clustering can accurately differentiate patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) from cognitively normal (CN) individuals. The second aim will be to determine the extent to which semantic processing might be associated with executive functions. Data from 202 (134 CN, 68 aMCI) participants were analyzed to quantify differences in semantic clustering ratios on the HVLT-R. Study participants ages ranged from 51 to 87 with education ranging from 6 to 20 years. ANCOVA revealed statistically significant differences on semantic clustering ratios (p < .001). Moderate correlations between semantic clustering Category Fluency Test (r = .45) were also found. Statistically significant group differences were also present on Trails-B and WAIS-R Digit Symbol performance (p < .001). Overall, these data indicate that deficits in semantic clustering are present in aMCI patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amnesia / complications
  • Amnesia / diagnosis*
  • Cluster Analysis*
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Executive Function / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Semantics*