Abstract

Objective: Individuals with cortical pathology display poor category fluency while those with subcortical pathology show relatively worse phonemic fluency. Better performance on phonemic relative to semantic fluency has also been linked to left temporal lobe dysfunction. Thus one would expect this fluency discrepancy profile to be associated with verbal memory and not with measures of executive functions. Method: Forty-one geriatric Veterans (mean age = 74.15; education = 13.70; 39 male, 2 female) were administered a screening test (MoCA) and a core battery. Measures included category and letter fluency, CVLT-II Short Form (Trials 1–4 and LDFR), WMS-IV: Logical Memory (LM) I & II, and Trail Making Test B time. Fluency discrepancy scores were utilized in a linear regression model with measures of memory and executive functions. Results: Higher phonemic fluency relative to semantic fluency was associated with worse performance on measures of learning and memory including LM-I (R2 = .206, β = −.496, p = 0.022), LM-II (R2 = .179, β = −.469, p = 0.032), CVLT-LDFR (R2 = .109, β = −.368, p = 0.030), with a trend for CVLT Trials 1–4 (R2 = .047, β = −.274, p = 0.111). No significant findings were noted for executive measures. Conclusion(s): Linear regression results demonstrated that a significant portion of the total variation in verbal memory scores was accounted for by the fluency discrepancy score, supportive of literature associating this with left temporal lobe dysfunction. Future studies should examine the nature of this relationship between verbal versus visual memory and various stages of disease course and/or subtypes of neurodegenerative pathology.