John Libbey Eurotext

Gériatrie et Psychologie Neuropsychiatrie du Vieillissement

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Semantic memory training in Alzheimer's disease Volume 9, issue 2, Mai 2011

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Authors
Service de neurologie & CMRR Champagne-Ardenne,Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Reims, Laboratoire de neurosciences fonctionnelles et pathologies, CNRS-FRE 3291, Département de psychologie, Université Lille-Nord de France

The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of semantic stimulation of Alzheimer's patients on semantic memory comparatively to psychological support. We conducted semantic training with two target categories (musical instruments and human actions), because these concepts were massively failed in previous data collected in Alzheimer's disease. Ten patients (57-78 year old, MMSE scores from 17 to 26) were divided in an experimental and a control group where patients received psychological support instead of semantic cognitive training. Semantic abilities were significantly improved in patients from the experimental group, but only after semantic stimulation involving examples from musical instrument category. However, further analysis failed to show an item-specific improvement, suggesting that our results could be explained by a general increase of semantic retrieval. Results could also be explained by some motivational effect caused by more attractive material. Implications for future research and clinical applications are discussed.