Verbal Fluency and Early Memory Decline: Results from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention

Mueller KD, Koscik RL, LaRue A, Clark LR, Hermann BP, Johnson SC, Sager MA

Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology. 2015 Aug;30(5):448-57. Epub 2015 May 29.


This study examined the relationship between phonemic and semantic (category) verbal fluency and cognitive status in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention (WRAP), a longitudinal cohort enriched for family history of Alzheimer's disease. Participants were 283 WRAP subjects (age 53.1[6.5] years at baseline); who had completed three waves of assessment, over ~6 years and met psychometric criteria either for "cognitively healthy" (CH) or for psychometric amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) using an approach that did not consider fluency scores. CH and aMCI groups differed significantly on phonemic total scores, category total scores, phonemic switching, and category mean cluster size. These results suggest that measures of both phonemic and semantic fluency yield lower scores in persons with evidence of psychometric aMCI compared with those who are CH. Differences have not previously been reported in a group this young, and provide evidence for the importance of including multiple verbal fluency tests targeting preclinical Alzheimer's disease.

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