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Deficit of verb generation in nondemented patients with Parkinson's disease



Clinical and neuroimaging studies have shown that verb processing suggests a preferential participation of a prefrontal network, which is dysfunctional in Parkinson's disease (PD). To assess a verb processing deficit in PD, we compared noun- and verb-generation tasks for 34 nondemented PD patients (according to the Dementia Rating Scale) with 34 matched normal subjects, using two intracategory tasks (noun/noun and verb/verb generation) and two intercategory tasks (noun/verb and verb/noun generation). PD patients were significantly impaired in the two tasks involving verb production, i.e., verb/verb and noun/verb generation, whereas their performance was similar to those of controls in the two tasks requiring noun production. For the two impaired tasks, we assessed 1) the influence of lexical competition that corresponds to the presence of several candidate words for a given stimulus; 2) the influence of slight cognitive dysfunction; and 3) the influence of motor deficit. Significant correlations were found between DRS scores and performance on the noun/verb task, and no significant correlations were found between lexical competition or motor deficit and performance. The specific deficit for verb production in PD patients is discussed in relation to deficits affecting either action or grammatical representations. © 2002 Movement Disorder Society