Differential effects of body mass index on domain-specific cognitive outcomes after stroke.
ABSTRACT: Although the obesity paradox is an important modifiable factor in cardiovascular diseases, little research has been conducted to determine how it affects post-stroke cognitive function. We aimed to investigate the association between body mass index (BMI) and domain-specific cognitive outcomes, focusing on the subdivision of each frontal domain function in post-ischemic stroke survivors. A total of 335 ischemic stroke patients were included in the study after completion of the Korean-Mini Mental Status Examination (K-MMSE) and the vascular cognitive impairment harmonization standards neuropsychological protocol at 3 months after stroke. Frontal lobe functions were analyzed using semantic/phonemic fluency, processing speed, and mental set shifting. Our study participants were categorized into four groups according to BMI quartiles. The z-scores of K-MMSE at 3 months differed significantly between the groups after adjustment for initial stroke severity (p = 0.014). Global cognitive function in stroke survivors in the Q1 (the lowest quartile) BMI group was significantly lower than those in Q2 and Q4 (the highest quartile) BMI groups (K-MMSE z-scores, Q1: - 2.10 ± 3.40 vs. Q2: 0.71 ± 1.95 and Q4: - 1.21 ± 1.65). Controlled oral word association test findings indicated that phonemic and semantic word fluency was lower in Q4 BMI group participants than in Q2 BMI group participants (p = 0.016 and p = 0.023 respectively). BMI might differentially affect cognitive domains after ischemic stroke. Although being underweight may negatively affect global cognition post-stroke, obesity could induce frontal lobe dysfunctions, specifically phonemic and semantic word fluency.
Project description:Letter-cued word fluency is conceptualized as a phonemically guided word retrieval process. Accordingly, word clusters typically are defined solely by their phonemic similarity. We investigated semantic clustering in two letter-cued (P and S) word fluency task performances by 315 healthy adults, each for 1 min. Singular value decomposition (SVD) and generalized topological overlap measure (GTOM) were applied to verbal outputs to conservatively extract clusters of high-frequency words. The results generally confirmed phonemic clustering. However, we also found considerable semantic/associative clusters of words (e.g., pen, pencil, and paper), and some words showed both phonemic and semantic associations within a single cluster (e.g., pair, pear, peach). We conclude that letter-cued fluency is not necessarily a purely phonemic word retrieval process. Strong automatic semantic activation mechanisms play an important role in letter-cued lexical retrieval. Theoretical conceptualizations of the word retrieval process with phonemic cues may also need to be reexamined in light of these analyses.
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: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:<h4>Background</h4>For word production, we may consciously pursue semantic or phonological search strategies, but it is uncertain whether we can retrieve the different aspects of lexical information independently from each other. We therefore studied the spread of semantic information into words produced under exclusively phonemic task demands.<h4>Methods</h4>42 subjects participated in a letter verbal fluency task, demanding the production of as many s-words as possible in two minutes. Based on curve fittings for the time courses of word production, output spurts (temporal clusters) considered to reflect rapid lexical retrieval based on automatic activation spread, were identified. Semantic and phonemic word relatedness within versus between these clusters was assessed by respective scores (0 meaning no relation, 4 maximum relation).<h4>Results</h4>Subjects produced 27.5 (±9.4) words belonging to 6.7 (±2.4) clusters. Both phonemically and semantically words were more related within clusters than between clusters (phon: 0.33±0.22 vs. 0.19±0.17, p<.01; sem: 0.65±0.29 vs. 0.37±0.29, p<.01). Whereas the extent of phonemic relatedness correlated with high task performance, the contrary was the case for the extent of semantic relatedness.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The results indicate that semantic information spread occurs, even if the consciously pursued word search strategy is purely phonological. This, together with the negative correlation between semantic relatedness and verbal output suits the idea of a semantic default mode of lexical search, acting against rapid task performance in the given scenario of phonemic verbal fluency. The simultaneity of enhanced semantic and phonemic word relatedness within the same temporal cluster boundaries suggests an interaction between content and sound-related information whenever a new semantic field has been opened.
Project description:In verbal fluency (VF) tests, subjects articulate words in a specified category during a short test period (typically 60 s). Verbal fluency tests are widely used to study language development and to evaluate memory retrieval in neuropsychiatric disorders. Performance is usually measured as the total number of correct words retrieved. Here, we describe the properties of a computerized VF (C-VF) test that tallies correct words and repetitions while providing additional lexical measures of word frequency, syllable count, and typicality. In addition, the C-VF permits (1) the analysis of the rate of responding over time, and (2) the analysis of the semantic relationships between words using a new method, Explicit Semantic Analysis (ESA), as well as the established semantic clustering and switching measures developed by Troyer et al. (1997). In Experiment 1, we gathered normative data from 180 subjects ranging in age from 18 to 82 years in semantic ("animals") and phonemic (letter "F") conditions. The number of words retrieved in 90 s correlated with education and daily hours of computer-use. The rate of word production declined sharply over time during both tests. In semantic conditions, correct-word scores correlated strongly with the number of ESA and Troyer-defined semantic switches as well as with an ESA-defined semantic organization index (SOI). In phonemic conditions, ESA revealed significant semantic influences in the sequence of words retrieved. In Experiment 2, we examined the test-retest reliability of different measures across three weekly tests in 40 young subjects. Different categories were used for each semantic ("animals", "parts of the body", and "foods") and phonemic (letters "F", "A", and "S") condition. After regressing out the influences of education and computer-use, we found that correct-word z-scores in the first session did not differ from those of the subjects in Experiment 1. Word production was uniformly greater in semantic than phonemic conditions. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) of correct-word z-scores were higher for phonemic (0.91) than semantic (0.77) tests. In semantic conditions, good reliability was also seen for the SOI (ICC = 0.68) and ESA-defined switches in semantic categories (ICC = 0.62). In Experiment 3, we examined the performance of subjects from Experiment 2 when instructed to malinger: 38% showed abnormal (p< 0.05) performance in semantic conditions. Simulated malingerers with abnormal scores could be distinguished with 80% sensitivity and 89% specificity from subjects with abnormal scores in Experiment 1 using lexical, temporal, and semantic measures. In Experiment 4, we tested patients with mild and severe traumatic brain injury (mTBI and sTBI). Patients with mTBI performed within the normal range, while patients with sTBI showed significant impairments in correct-word z-scores and category shifts. The lexical, temporal, and semantic measures of the C-VF provide an automated and comprehensive description of verbal fluency performance.
Project description: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: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:Mounting evidence suggests that measures of phonemic fluency and semantic fluency are differentially associated with other cognitive and health phenotypes, but few studies have examined their shared and unique variance, especially using genetically-informative designs. In this study, 1464 middle-aged twins completed six fluency subtests at up to two time-points (mean age 56 and 62 years). Confirmatory factor analyses supported a two-factor solution: a General Fluency latent factor explained variation in all six subtests and a Semantic-Specific factor accounted for additional variance in semantic subtests. Both factors were explained primarily by genetic influences at both waves (a2?=?0.57-0.76). There was considerable stability of individual differences over 6 years (r?=?.90 for General Fluency, r?=?.81 for Semantic-Specific), especially for genetic influences (rg?=?.94 and 1.0, respectively). These results suggest that semantic fluency can be viewed as a combination of general and semantic-specific variance, but phonemic fluency is captured entirely by the general factor.
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:Neural compensatory mechanisms associated with broad cognitive abilities have been studied. However, those associated with specific cognitive subdomains (e.g., verbal fluency) remain to be investigated in healthy aging. Here, we delineate: (a) neural substrates of verbal (phonemic) fluency, and (b) compensatory mechanisms mediating the association between these neural substrates and phonemic fluency. We analyzed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging from 133 right-handed, cognitively normal individuals who underwent the Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWAT) to record their phonemic fluency. We evaluated functional connectivity in an established and extended language network comprising Wernicke, Broca, thalamic and anti-correlated modules. (a) We conducted voxel-wise multiple linear regression to identify the brain areas associated with phonemic fluency. (b) We used mediation effects of cognitive reserve, measured by the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Information subtest, upon the association between functional connectivity and phonemic fluency tested to investigate compensation. We found that: (a) Greater functional connectivity between the Wernicke module and brain areas within the anti-correlated module was associated with better performance in phonemic fluency, (b) Cognitive reserve was an unlikely mediator in younger adults. In contrast, cognitive reserve was a partial mediator of the association between functional connectivity and phonemic fluency in older adults, likely representing compensation to counter the effect of aging. We conclude that in healthy aging, higher performance in phonemic fluency at older ages could be attributed to greater functional connectivity partially facilitated by higher cognitive reserve, presumably reflecting compensatory mechanisms to minimize the effect of aging.