Word Processing Is Faster than Picture Processing in Alzheimer's Disease

Kenichi Meguro, Yumi Takahashi, Masahiro Nakatsuka, Jiro Oonuma, Keiichi Kumai, Mari Kasai, Satoshi Yamaguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by a slow progressive impairment of episodic memory. Many studies have shown that AD exhibits deterioration of semantic memory during the course of disease progression. We previously reported that AD patients exhibited severe access disorders in the semantic memory system, using the Momentary Presentation Task (20 or 300 ms). In this study, we studied access disorder in patients with AD by the use of object difference (pictures vs words) methods. Methods. 56 patients with probable AD (NINCDS-ADRDA, mean age 79.0 years) and 11 healthy controls (HC) (mean age 67.0 years) were studied. Ten pictures and 10 corresponding Japanese Hiragana words were presented arbitrarily for 20 and 300 ms on the monitor screen which were correctly named at the usual confrontation setting (i.e., semantic memory preserved). They were asked to name the pictures or to read the words or nonsense syllables aloud. Results. The AD group showed significantly lower scores than the HC group, especially for the 20 ms condition. For the type of stimuli, the AD patients had better performances for words > pictures > nonsense syllables, although no differences for the HC group. The effect of AD severity was noted, moderate > severe stage. Conclusions. Our results suggested that the processing speed in AD patients may have reduced, even if the semantic memory were preserved. These data indicated that the difference in the processing speeds by the type of stimuli (pictures, words, and nonsense syllables) may be a character of AD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9541869
JournalBehavioural Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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