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Neural substrates for writing impairments in Japanese patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease: a SPECT study

Language is fairly well preserved in most patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease, but writing ability seems to be impaired even in the early stages of the disease. To investigate the neural bases of writing impairments in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), we examined the correlation between writing ability and regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in 52 Japanese patients with mild AD compared to 22 controls, using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). We found that, compared with control subjects, Kana writing to dictation and copying Kanji words were preserved in AD patients, but writing to dictating Kanji words was impaired. We classified the errors in the Kanji dictation task into four types to investigate the correlation between rCBF and the error type, as follows: non-response errors, phonologically plausible errors, non-phonologically plausible errors, and peripheral errors. Non-response errors, which indicated difficulty with retrieving Kanji graphic images, were the most frequent. When controlled for confounding factors, the number of non-response errors negatively correlated with rCBF in the left inferior parietal lobule, the posterior middle and inferior temporal gyri, and the posterior middle frontal gyrus. Thus, the impaired recall of Kanji in early Alzheimer’s disease is related to dysfunctional cortical activity, which appears to be predominant in the left frontal, parietal, and temporal regions.

from Neuropsychologia

The Forgotten Learning Disability: Epidemiology of Written-Language Disorder in a Population-Based Birth Cohort (1976–1982), Rochester, Minnesota

CONCLUSIONS. In this population-based birth cohort of school-aged children, written-language disorder was at least as frequent as reading disabilities and significantly more frequent among boys than girls.

from Pediatrics