Authors: Mayberry EJ, Sage K, Ehsan S, Lambon Ralph MA
Title: An emergent effect of phonemic cueing following relearning in semantic dementia
Source: Aphasiology 2011 25(9): 1069-1077
Year: 2011
Research Design: Single Case Design

Background: Semantic dementia (SD) is a disorder that leads to a gradual but profound breakdown of conceptual knowledge and, as a result, severe anomia that is not alleviated by phonemic cueing. Several studies have shown that practising to name a set of objects can help people with SD to relearn the names of those objects. However, it is not clear whether the factors that impact on spontaneous naming in SD would remain the same or whether they would change as a result of relearning. Aims: The current relearning study examined phonemic cueing before and after relearning, to determine whether this factor's impact on naming changed during the course of the relearning. Methods & Procedures: Two people with SD participated in the study. A baseline naming test was performed prior to the start of the relearning. The relearning took place over 3 weeks (15 sessions), followed immediately by a retest the following day. Relearning and the influence of phonemic cueing were measured at baseline and retest. Outcomes & Results: The impact of phonemic cueing was greater at retest than at baseline. Conclusions: Although phonemic cueing did not impact on spontaneous naming in SD, it did have a facilitative effect after relearning. This change may signal a shift in the relative contributions of the underlying learning systems.

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