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Article
December 1989

Impaired Recognition of Meaningful Sounds in Alzheimer's Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, University of Arizona, Tucson. Dr Rapcsak is now with the Department of Neurology, Hahnemann University, Philadelphia, Pa.

Arch Neurol. 1989;46(12):1298-1300. doi:10.1001/archneur.1989.00520480040017
Abstract

• We studied recognition of meaningful nonverbal sounds using a sound-picture matching test in 18 patients with senile dementia of the Alzheimer type (SDAT) and 19 age-matched controls. A significant impairment of sound recognition was found in the SDAT group, consistent with auditory sound agnosia. Although sound recognition performance correlated significantly with auditory verbal comprehension scores, a sound recognition defect was also identifiable in the subgroup of patients with SDAT who had normal verbal comprehension. Qualitative analysis of sound recognition errors revealed that nonaphasic patients with SDAT made predominantly acoustic errors, whereas semantic errors were found almost exclusively in aphasic patients. These findings suggest that the auditory sound agnosia of patients with SDAT may be subdivided into perceptual-discriminative and semantic-associative types.

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