Reduced Verbal Fluency following Subthalamic Deep Brain Stimulation: A Frontal-Related Cognitive Deficit?
ABSTRACT: The decrease in verbal fluency in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) undergoing subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) is usually assumed to reflect a frontal lobe-related cognitive dysfunction, although evidence for this is lacking.To explore its underlying mechanisms, we combined neuropsychological, psychiatric and motor assessments with an examination of brain metabolism using F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography, in 26 patients with PD, 3 months before and after surgery. We divided these patients into two groups, depending on whether or not they exhibited a postoperative deterioration in either phonemic (10 patients) or semantic (8 patients) fluency. We then compared the STN-DBS groups with and without verbal deterioration on changes in clinical measures and brain metabolism.We did not find any neuropsychological change supporting the presence of an executive dysfunction in patients with a deficit in either phonemic or semantic fluency. Similarly, a comparison of patients with or without impaired fluency on brain metabolism failed to highlight any frontal areas involved in cognitive functions. However, greater changes in cognitive slowdown and apathy were observed in patients with a postoperative decrease in verbal fluency.These results suggest that frontal lobe-related cognitive dysfunction could play only a minor role in the postoperative impairment of phonemic or semantic fluency, and that cognitive slowdown and apathy could have a more decisive influence. Furthermore, the phonemic and semantic impairments appeared to result from the disturbance of distinct mechanisms.
Project description:Introduction: Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN-DBS) ameliorates motor function in patients with Parkinson's disease and allows reducing dopaminergic therapy. Beside effects on motor function STN-DBS influences many non-motor symptoms, among which decline of verbal fluency test performance is most consistently reported. The surgical procedure itself is the likely cause of this decline, while the influence of the electrical stimulation is still controversial. STN-DBS also produces widespread changes of cortical activity as visualized by quantitative EEG. The present study aims to link an alteration in verbal fluency performance by electrical stimulation of the STN to alterations in quantitative EEG. Methods: Sixteen patients with STN-DBS were included. All patients had a high density EEG recording (256 channels) while testing verbal fluency in the stimulator on/off situation. The phonemic, semantic, alternating phonemic and semantic fluency was tested (Regensburger Wortflüssigkeits-Test). Results: On the group level, stimulation of STN did not alter verbal fluency performance. EEG frequency analysis showed an increase of relative alpha2 (10-13 Hz) and beta (13-30 Hz) power in the parieto-occipital region (p ? 0.01). On the individual level, changes of verbal fluency induced by stimulation of the STN were disparate and correlated inversely with delta power in the left temporal lobe (p < 0.05). Conclusion: STN stimulation does not alter verbal fluency performance in a systematic way at group level. However, when in individual patients an alteration of verbal fluency performance is produced by electrical stimulation of the STN, it correlates inversely with left temporal delta power.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The processing of verbal fluency tasks relies on the coordinated activity of a number of brain areas, particularly in the frontal and temporal lobes of the left hemisphere. Recent studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the neural networks subserving verbal fluency functions have yielded divergent results especially with respect to a parcellation of the inferior frontal gyrus for phonemic and semantic verbal fluency. We conducted a coordinate-based activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis on brain activation during the processing of phonemic and semantic verbal fluency tasks involving 28 individual studies with 490 healthy volunteers. RESULTS: For phonemic as well as for semantic verbal fluency, the most prominent clusters of brain activation were found in the left inferior/middle frontal gyrus (LIFG/MIFG) and the anterior cingulate gyrus. BA 44 was only involved in the processing of phonemic verbal fluency tasks, BA 45 and 47 in the processing of phonemic and semantic fluency tasks. CONCLUSIONS: Our comparison of brain activation during the execution of either phonemic or semantic verbal fluency tasks revealed evidence for spatially different activation in BA 44, but not other regions of the LIFG/LMFG (BA 9, 45, 47) during phonemic and semantic verbal fluency processing.
Project description:Fluency tasks have been widely used to tap the voluntary generation of responses. The anatomical correlates of fluency tasks and their sensitivity and specificity have been hotly debated. However, investigation of the cognitive processes involved in voluntary generation of responses and whether generation is supported by a common, general process (e.g. fluid intelligence) or specific cognitive processes underpinned by particular frontal regions has rarely been addressed. This study investigates a range of verbal and non-verbal fluency tasks in patients with unselected focal frontal (n=47) and posterior (n=20) lesions. Patients and controls (n=35) matched for education, age and sex were administered fluency tasks including word (phonemic/semantic), design, gesture and ideational fluency as well as background cognitive tests. Lesions were analysed by standard anterior/posterior and left/right frontal subdivisions as well as a finer-grained frontal localization method. Thus, patients with right and left lateral lesions were compared to patients with superior medial lesions. The results show that all eight fluency tasks are sensitive to frontal lobe damage although only the phonemic word and design fluency tasks were specific to the frontal region. Superior medial patients were the only group to be impaired on all eight fluency tasks, relative to controls, consistent with an energization deficit. The most marked fluency deficits for lateral patients were along material specific lines (i.e. left-phonemic and right-design). Phonemic word fluency that requires greater selection was most severely impaired following left inferior frontal damage. Overall, our results support the notion that frontal functions comprise a set of specialized cognitive processes, supported by distinct frontal regions.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Verbal fluency deficits are common in patients with Parkinson's disease. The association of these impairments with regional neuropathological changes is unexplored. OBJECTIVES:Determine if patients with verbal fluency impairments have greater neuropathological burden in frontal, temporal, and limbic regions and if Lewy bodies or neurofibrillary tangles were associated with verbal fluency impairments. METHODS:Data was derived from the Arizona Study of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders. 47 individuals who completed phonemic and semantic verbal fluency tasks and met clinicopathological criteria for Parkinson's disease (with and without comorbid Alzheimer's disease) were included. Impairment on fluency tasks was defined by normative data, and the density of neuropathology in temporal, limbic, and frontal regions was compared between groups. RESULTS:Individuals with semantic fluency impairments had greater total pathology (Lewy bodies + neurofibrillary tangles) in limbic structures (W = 320.0, p?=?.033, rpb?=?.33), while those who had phonemic fluency impairments had increased total neuropathology in frontal (W?=?364.5, p?=?.011, rpb?=?.37), temporal (W?=?356.5, p?=?.022, rpb?=?.34), and limbic regions (W?=?357.0, p?=?.024, rpb?=?.34). Greater Lewy body density was found in those with verbal fluency impairments, though trends for greater neurofibrillary tangle density were noted as well. CONCLUSIONS:Impaired phonemic fluency was associated with higher Lewy body and tangle burden in frontal, temporal, and limbic regions, while impaired semantic fluency was associated with greater limbic pathology. Though neurofibrillary tangles trended higher in several regions in those with impaired verbal fluency, higher Lewy body density in general was associated with verbal fluency deficits. Implications for research and clinical practice are discussed.
Project description:Semantic and phonemic fluency tasks are frequently used to test executive functioning, speed and attention, and access to the mental lexicon. In semantic fluency tasks, subjects are required to generate words belonging to a category (e.g., animals) within a limited time window, whereas in phonemic fluency tasks subjects have to generate words starting with a given letter. Anatomical correlates of semantic and phonemic fluency are currently assumed to overlap in left frontal structures, reflecting shared executive processes, and to be distinct in left temporal and right frontal structures, reflecting involvement of distinct memory processes and search strategies. Definite evidence for this assumption is lacking. To further establish the anatomical correlates of semantic and phonemic fluency, we applied assumption-free voxel-based and region-of-interest-based lesion-symptom mapping in 93 patients with ischemic stroke. Fluency was assessed by asking patients to name animals (semantic), and words starting with the letter N and A (phonemic). Our findings indicate that anatomical correlates of semantic and phonemic fluency overlap in the left inferior frontal gyrus and insula, reflecting shared underlying cognitive processes. Phonemic fluency additionally draws on the left rolandic operculum, which might reflect a search through phonological memory, and the middle frontal gyrus. Semantic fluency additionally draws on left medial temporal regions, probably reflecting a search through semantic memory, and the right inferior frontal gyrus, which might reflect the application of a visuospatial mental imagery strategy in semantic fluency. These findings establish shared and distinct anatomical correlates of semantic and phonemic fluency.
Project description:Disproportionately greater deficits in semantic relative to phonemic verbal fluency are seen in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and have been attributed to neurodegenerative changes in the temporal lobe. Amnestic (AMN) mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which often represents incipient AD, is also characterized by early temporal lobe neuropathology, but previous comparisons of verbal fluency between AD and AMN MCI have yielded mixed results. We examined semantic and phonemic verbal fluency performance in 399 individuals (78 AD, 138 AMN MCI, 72 non-amnestic MCI, and 111 cognitively normal controls). Similar verbal fluency patterns were seen in AMN MCI and AD; both groups exhibited disproportionately poorer performance on semantic verbal fluency relative to normal controls. However, relative verbal fluency indices performed more poorly than individual semantic or phonemic verbal fluency indices for discriminating AMN MCI or AD participants from normal controls, suggesting that they are unlikely to provide additional utility for predicting progression from MCI to AD.
Project description:<b>Background:</b> Verbal fluency (VF) has been associated with several cognitive functions, but the cognitive processes underlying verbal fluency deficits in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are controversial. Further knowledge about VF could be useful in clinical practice, because these tasks are brief, applicable, and reliable in MS patients. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the cognitive processes related to VF and to develop machine-learning algorithms to predict those patients with cognitive deficits using only VF-derived scores. <b>Methods:</b> Two hundred participants with MS were enrolled and examined using a comprehensive neuropsychological battery, including semantic and phonemic fluencies. Automatic linear modeling was used to identify the neuropsychological test predictors of VF scores. Furthermore, machine-learning algorithms (support vector machines, random forest) were developed to predict those patients with cognitive deficits using only VF-derived scores. <b>Results:</b> Neuropsychological tests associated with attention-executive functioning, memory, and language were the main predictors of the different fluency scores. However, the importance of memory was greater in semantic fluency and clustering scores, and executive functioning in phonemic fluency and switching. Machine learning algorithms predicted general cognitive impairment and executive dysfunction, with F1-scores over 67-71%. <b>Conclusions:</b> VF was influenced by many other cognitive processes, mainly including attention-executive functioning, episodic memory, and language. Semantic fluency and clustering were more explained by memory function, while phonemic fluency and switching were more related to executive functioning. Our study supports that the multiple cognitive components underlying VF tasks in MS could serve for screening purposes and the detection of executive dysfunction.
Project description:Verbal fluency is the ability to retrieve lexical knowledge quickly and efficiently and develops during childhood and adolescence. Few studies have investigated associations between verbal fluency performance and brain structural variation in children. Here we examined associations of verbal fluency performance with structural measures of frontal and temporal language-related brain regions and their connections in 73 typically-developing children aged 7-13 years. Tract-based spatial statistics was used to extract fractional anisotropy (FA) from the superior longitudinal fasciculus/arcuate fasciculus (SLF/AF), and the white matter underlying frontal and temporal language-related regions. FreeSurfer was used to extract cortical thickness and surface area. Better semantic and phonemic fluency performance was associated with higher right SLF/AF FA, and phonemic fluency was also modestly associated with lower left SLF/AF FA. Explorative voxelwise analyses for semantic fluency suggested associations with FA in other fiber tracts, including corpus callosum and right inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus. Overall, our results suggest that verbal fluency performance in children may rely on right hemisphere structures, possibly involving both language and executive function networks, and less on solely left hemisphere structures as often is observed in adults. Longitudinal studies are needed to clarify whether these associations are mediated by maturational processes, stable characteristics and/or experience.
Project description:Verbal and figural fluency are related to executive functions (EFs), but the extent to which they benefit from executive resources and their respective cortical representations is not clear. Moreover, different brain areas and cognitive functions are involved in fluency processing. This study investigated effects of modulation of cortical excitability in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (l-DLPFC), left temporal area and right posterior parietal cortex (r-PPC) with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), on verbal and figural fluency. Fifteen healthy adult participants received anodal l-DLPFC (F3), anodal left temporal (T3), anodal r-PPC (P4) and sham tDCS (15?min, 1.5?mA). After five minutes of stimulation, participants underwent the verbal fluency (i.e., semantic and phonemic fluency tasks) and figural fluency tasks. Participants significantly generated more words with phonemic cues during anodal l-DLPFC tDCS and more words with semantic cues during both anodal left temporal and anodal l-DLPFC tDCS. In contrast, they generated more unique figures under anodal r-PPC and anodal l-DLPFC tDCS. Our results implicate that prefrontal regions and EFs are shared anatomical correlates and cognitive processes relevant for both, verbal and figural fluency (supramodal contribution of DLPFC activation), whereas r-PPC and left temporal cortex are more specifically involved in figural and semantic fluency (modality-specific contribution).
Project description:The relationship of verbal fluency to executive functions (EFs) remains somewhat unclear. Verbal fluency is sometimes considered an EF ability, but is not often included in the same models as other well-studied EFs (inhibition, shifting, and working memory updating). We examined the associations between verbal fluency and EFs at 2 ages with the unity/diversity model, which includes common and domain-specific EF factors. Participants were 813 adolescent twins from the Colorado Longitudinal Twin Sample (mean age 17 years) and 1,290 middle-aged twins from the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging (mean age 56 years) who completed multiple measures of EFs, verbal fluency, vocabulary, and nonverbal cognitive ability. Results revealed that, in both samples, a General Fluency factor (i.e., comprising both phonemic and semantic fluency measures) was associated with the Common EF factor, but also with variance unique to working memory updating, working memory span, and set-shifting. In adolescents, semantic fluency also had unique associations with shifting beyond its shared variance with phonemic fluency and Common EF. After accounting for EFs and other cognitive abilities, there were unique genetic and environmental influences on the General Fluency and Semantic-Specific latent factors. These results suggest that verbal fluency ability may best be viewed as an amalgamation of general EF variance (i.e., Common EF ability), variance shared with other EFs (e.g., Updating-Specific ability), and multiple sources of unique genetic/environmental variance (i.e., General Fluency and Semantic-Specific abilities). These associations between verbal fluency and EFs generalize to populations that differ in age by approximately 40 years. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).