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The Impact of Semantic Dementia on Everyday Actions: Evidence from an Ecological Study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 November 2012

Nathalie Bier*
Affiliation:
École de réadaptation, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada Centre de recherche de l'Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Carolina Bottari
Affiliation:
École de réadaptation, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire en réadaptation de Montréal– site Centre de réadaptation Lucie Bruneau, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Carol Hudon
Affiliation:
Département de psychologie, Université Laval, Québec, Québec, Canada Centre de recherche de l'Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec, Québec, Canada
Sven Joubert
Affiliation:
Centre de recherche de l'Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada Département de psychologie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Guillaume Paquette
Affiliation:
Centre de recherche de l'Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Joël Macoir
Affiliation:
Centre de recherche de l'Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec, Québec, Canada Département de réadaptation, Université Laval, Québec, Québec, Canada
*
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Nathalie Bier, Centre de recherche de l'Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, 4565, chemin Queen-Mary, Montréal (Québec), Canada, H3W 1W5. E-mail: nathalie.bier@umontreal.ca

Abstract

In theory, semantic memory may trigger and support the execution of everyday activities. This study explored this question by comparing three patients with semantic dementia to 40 normal controls performing different everyday activities. Participants were tested in their home using the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Profile, an ecological measure of everyday functioning. Participants were informed that they had unknowingly invited two guests for lunch and should prepare accordingly. With these instructions, they dress to go outdoors, go to the grocery store, shop for food, prepare a hot meal, have the meal with the guests, and clean up after the meal. Performance was analyzed on the basis of four operations related to problem solving: formulate a goal, plan, execute, and verify attainment of the goal. Results indicate that compared to normal controls, two patients had significant difficulties and needed assistance with all operations of problem-solving, particularly while preparing a meal and cleaning up after the meal. One patient showed no difficulties despite severe semantic deficits. These results suggest that semantic deficits alone cannot explain the difficulties observed, but may contribute to some aspects of everyday actions such as those involved in everyday problem-solving. (JINS, 2012, 18, 1–11)

Type
Research Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2012

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