The Disparate Effects of Alzheimer’s Disease and Huntington’s Disease on Semantic Memory

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retrieval & response latencies of semantic memories, patients with Alzheimer's disease (mean age 75.1 yrs) &/vs Huntington's disease (mean age 47.2 yrs)

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Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Huntington's disease (HD) impair performance on semantic memory tasks, but researchers disagree on whether AD and HD cause these impairments in the same manner. According to one view, AD disrupts the storage of semantic memories, whereas HD disrupts the retrieval of semantic memories. Dissenters argue that AD, like HD, disrupts retrieval. In this study, participants generated category exemplars (e.g., kinds of fruits) for 1 min, and response latencies were examined. Relative to healthy controls, the 12 AD patients produced a larger proportion of responses earlier in the recall period, consistent with the view that AD patients quickly exhaust their limited supply of items in storage. By contrast, the 12 HD patients produced a larger proportion of their responses late in the recall period, consistent with the view that HD slows retrieval.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Neuropsychology, v. 13, issue 3, p. 381-388