Diagnostic and prognostic role of semantic processing in preclinical Alzheimer's disease

Annalena Venneri, Caroline Jahn-Carta, Matteo De Marco, Davide Quaranta, Camillo Marra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Relatively spared during most of the timeline of normal aging, semantic memory shows a subtle yet measurable decline even during the pre-clinical stage of Alzheimer's disease. This decline is thought to reflect early neurofibrillary changes and impairment is detectable using tests of language relying on lexical-semantic abilities. A promising approach is the characterization of semantic parameters such as typicality and age of acquisition of words, and propositional density from verbal output. Seminal research like the Nun Study or the analysis of the linguistic decline of famous writers and politicians later diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease supports the early diagnostic value of semantic processing and semantic memory. Moreover, measures of these skills may play an important role for the prognosis of patients with mild cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-651
Number of pages15
JournalBiomarkers in Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Category Fluency task
  • linguistic attainment
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • neuropsychological markers
  • semantic memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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