Background: Processing of linguistic negation has been associated to inhibitory brain mechanisms. However, no study has tapped this link via multimodal measures in patients with core inhibitory alterations, a critical approach to reveal direct neural correlates and potential disease markers.
Methods: Here we examined oscillatory, neuroanatomical, and functional connectivity signatures of a recently reported Go/No-go negation task in healthy controls and behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) patients, typified by primary and generalized inhibitory disruptions. To test for specificity, we also recruited persons with Alzheimer's disease (AD), a disease involving frequent but nonprimary inhibitory deficits.
Results: In controls, negative sentences in the No-go condition distinctly involved frontocentral delta (2-3 Hz) suppression, a canonical inhibitory marker. In bvFTD patients, this modulation was selectively abolished and significantly correlated with the volume and functional connectivity of regions supporting inhibition (e.g. precentral gyrus, caudate nucleus, and cerebellum). Such canonical delta suppression was preserved in the AD group and associated with widespread anatomo-functional patterns across non-inhibitory regions.
Discussion: These findings suggest that negation hinges on the integrity and interaction of spatiotemporal inhibitory mechanisms. Moreover, our results reveal potential neurocognitive markers of bvFTD, opening a new agenda at the crossing of cognitive neuroscience and behavioral neurology.
Keywords: EEG oscillations; behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia; inhibition; multimodal imaging; negation.
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