Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease with prime conse- quences on the motor function and concomitant cognitive changes, most frequently in the domain of executive functions. Moreover, poorer performance with action-verbs versus object-nouns has been reported in ALS patients, raising the hypothesis that the motor dysfunction deteriorates the semantic representation of actions. Using action-verbs and manipulable-object nouns sharing semantic relationship with the same motor represen- tations, the verb-noun difference was assessed in a group of 21 ALS-patients with severely impaired motor behavior, and compared with a normal sample's performance. ALS-group performed better on nouns than verbs, both in production (action and object naming) and comprehension (word-picture matching). This observation implies that the interpretation of the verb-noun difference in ALS cannot be accounted by the relatedness of verbs to motor representations, but has to consider the role of other semantic and/or morpho- phonological dimensions that distinctively define the two grammatical classes. More- over, this difference in the ALS-group was not greater than the noun-verb difference in the normal sample. The mental representation of actions also involves an executive-control component to organize, in logical/temporal order, the individual motor events (or sub- goals) that form a purposeful action. We assessed this ability with action sequencing tasks, requiring participants to re-construct a purposeful action from the scrambled pre- sentation of its constitutive motor events, shown in the form of photographs or short sentences. In those tasks, ALS-group's performance was significantly poorer than controls'. Thus, the executive dysfunction manifested in the sequencing deficit ebut not the selec- tive verb deficite appears as a consistent feature of the cognitive profile associated with LS. We suggest that ALS can offer a valuable model to study the relationship between (frontal) motor centers and the executive-control machinery housed in the frontal brain, and the implications of executive dysfunctions in tasks such as action processing.
|Titolo:||The processing of actions and-action words in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis patients|
|Autori:||Papeo L; Cecchetto C; Mazzon G; Granello G; Cattaruzza T; Verriello L; Eleopra R; Rumiati R. I.|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/j.cortex.2014.10.007|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Journal article|