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Generative word fluency skills in adults with Parkinson's disease

Hough, Monica Strauss
Generative word fluency skills in adults with Parkinson's disease. Aphasiology, 18(5-7), 2004, pages 581-588.

Abstract

Background: Studies addressing cognitive function of adults with Parkinson's disease (PD) have revealed inconsistencies relative to language disturbances. Whereas some researchers have observed no evidence to support language dysfunction on semantic/generative naming tasks, others have found that adults with PD display decreased performance on these tasks. Generative naming may be problematic for adults with PD but its usefulness as a predictor for identifying cognitive impairment in this population is unclear.

Aims: The purpose of the investigation was to examine performance of a group of 20 PD individuals and an age-, education-, and gender-matched control group of 20 individuals on generative naming tasks for nouns, verbs, and adjectives. The primary hypothesis was that the adults with PD would demonstrate a deficit in verb generation.

Methods & Procedures: All participants with PD had a diagnosis based on the presence of two of three classic PD signs, bradykinesia, resting tremor, and rigidity, as determined by a neurologist. All participants were native English speakers, had normal or corrected vision, passed a hearing screening, and had no history of developmental disabilities, head injury, or substance abuse. There were no significant differences between groups on premorbid Full Scale IQ or cognitive functioning as measured by the MMSE. The experimental procedure consisted of noun, verb, and adjective fluency tasks. Participants were instructed to name as many exemplars as possible in 60 seconds for each part of speech. Scores were based on total number and percentage of accurate responses.

Outcomes & Results: Both groups produced significantly more nouns than verbs and adjectives. Percentage of accuracy data revealed that: (1) the control group was significantly more accurate than the Parkinson's group; (2) the Parkinson's group was significantly less accurate than controls on adjective generation; and (3) significantly higher accuracy was observed for nouns and verbs than adjectives across groups. Overall word retrieval performance as measured by the Test of Adolescent/Adult Word Finding was significantly related to adjective generation only.

Conclusions: The group with PD exhibited an impairment in adjective generation as compared to controls. Mental representations for adjectives appear to be more multifaceted than representations for nouns and verbs. The increased complexity of semantic networks for adjectives may be vulnerable to the effects of brain damage associated with PD.

EPrint Type:Journal (Paginated)
Subjects:UNSPECIFIED
ID Code:1500
Conference:Clinical Aphasiology Conference: Clinical Aphasiology Conference (2003 : 33rd : Orcas Island, WA : May 2003)
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
Publication:Aphasiology
Volume:18
Number:5-7
Pages:581-588
Alternative Locations:http://www.metapress.com/link.asp?id=42xt6vwd8e9gujkx, http://www.metapress.com/openurl.asp?genre=article&issn=0268-7038&volume=18&issue=5&spage=581, http://www.metapress.com/openurl.asp?genre=article&id=doi:10.1080/02687030444000101
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