Multimodal Semantic Knowledge Assessment –Standard and Preliminary Data in Semantic Variant Primary Progressive Aphasia and Alzheimer’s Disease in Comparison with Vascular Aphasia

By Sandrine Basaglia-Pappas, Romane Bourgey, Anne Boulangé, Pauline Amiot, Élise Champeaux, Aurelia Rendón de la Cruz, Laurent Lefebvre, Isabelle Simoes Loureiro

Lexical-semantic disorders are known to be one of the major manifestations of aphasia, whether of vascular (as semantic aphasia -SA-) or degenerative (as semantic variant primary progressive aphasia -svPPA- and Alzheimer’s disease -AD-) origin. In clinical practice, these disorders are mainly assessed by verbal tests, while, according to literature, the deficit must be observed in several modalities. The aim of this study was to create a French multimodal semantic assessment battery called EMCS (Évaluation Multimodale des Connaissances Sémantiques), which investigates, in a shorter time than the existing ones, semantic memory efficiency through several multimodal tasks. Eighty-seven native French-speakers control participants were recruited. They underwent the 10 tasks from the EMCS battery, namely the verbal and non-verbal modalities. To explore the sensibility of the battery, three SA, two svPPA and two AD patients at the onset of the disease carried out the EMCS battery. Statistical analyses led to establish normative data, with percentile scores, and highlighted, for controls, an effect of education level for the majority of the tests, an age effect for several tasks, but no gender effect. For every patient, results were discriminatory compared to the reference control group for several tasks, namely picture-naming, semantic knowledge about celebrities and taste subtest (p < .05). The EMCS battery can contribute to identify, in a rather short amount of time, multimodal semantic disorders for patients suffering from vascular and degenerative aphasia. Thus, this tool may be a help for clinical diagnosis and offers the clinician the possibility to determine, at early stages, the nature of the semantic impairment (access or central).

  • primary progressive aphasia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • semantic knowledge assessment
  • multimodality
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