Phonemic fluency and brain connectivity in age-related macular degeneration: A pilot study

Heather E. Whitson, Ying Hui Chou, Guy G. Potter, Michele T. Diaz, Nan Kuei Chen, Eleonora M. Lad, Micah A. Johnson, Scott W. Cousins, Jie Zhuang, David J. Madden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in developed nations, has been associated with poor performance on tests of phonemic fluency. This pilot study sought to (1) characterize the relationship between phonemic fluency and resting-state functional brain connectivity in AMD patients and (2) determine whether regional connections associated with phonemic fluency in AMD patients were similarly linked to phonemic fluency in healthy participants. Behavior-based connectivity analysis was applied to resting-state, functional magnetic resonance imaging data from seven patients (mean age=79.9±7.5 years) with bilateral AMD who completed fluency tasks prior to imaging. Phonemic fluency was inversely related to the strength of functional connectivity (FC) among six pairs of brain regions, representing eight nodes: left opercular portion of inferior frontal gyrus (which includes Broca's area), left superior temporal gyrus (which includes part of Wernicke's area), inferior parietal lobe (bilaterally), right superior parietal lobe, right supramarginal gyrus, right supplementary motor area, and right precentral gyrus. The FC of these reference links was not related to phonemic fluency among 32 healthy individuals (16 younger adults, mean age=23.5±4.6 years and 16 older adults, mean age=68.3±3.4 years). Compared with healthy individuals, AMD patients exhibited higher mean connectivity within the reference links and within the default mode network, possibly reflecting compensatory changes to support performance in the setting of reduced vision. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that phonemic fluency deficits in AMD reflect underlying brain changes that develop in the context of AMD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-135
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Connectivity
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

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Macular Degeneration
Parietal Lobe
Brain
Low Vision
Motor Cortex
Frontal Lobe
Temporal Lobe
Blindness
Prefrontal Cortex
Developed Countries
Young Adult
Healthy Volunteers
Magnetic Resonance Imaging

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Whitson, H. E., Chou, Y. H., Potter, G. G., Diaz, M. T., Chen, N. K., Lad, E. M., ... Madden, D. J. (2015). Phonemic fluency and brain connectivity in age-related macular degeneration: A pilot study. Brain Connectivity, 5(2), 126-135. https://doi.org/10.1089/brain.2014.0277
Whitson, Heather E. ; Chou, Ying Hui ; Potter, Guy G. ; Diaz, Michele T. ; Chen, Nan Kuei ; Lad, Eleonora M. ; Johnson, Micah A. ; Cousins, Scott W. ; Zhuang, Jie ; Madden, David J. / Phonemic fluency and brain connectivity in age-related macular degeneration : A pilot study. In: Brain Connectivity. 2015 ; Vol. 5, No. 2. pp. 126-135.
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Whitson, HE, Chou, YH, Potter, GG, Diaz, MT, Chen, NK, Lad, EM, Johnson, MA, Cousins, SW, Zhuang, J & Madden, DJ 2015, 'Phonemic fluency and brain connectivity in age-related macular degeneration: A pilot study', Brain Connectivity, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 126-135. https://doi.org/10.1089/brain.2014.0277

Phonemic fluency and brain connectivity in age-related macular degeneration : A pilot study. / Whitson, Heather E.; Chou, Ying Hui; Potter, Guy G.; Diaz, Michele T.; Chen, Nan Kuei; Lad, Eleonora M.; Johnson, Micah A.; Cousins, Scott W.; Zhuang, Jie; Madden, David J.

In: Brain Connectivity, Vol. 5, No. 2, 01.04.2015, p. 126-135.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Whitson, Heather E.

AU - Chou, Ying Hui

AU - Potter, Guy G.

AU - Diaz, Michele T.

AU - Chen, Nan Kuei

AU - Lad, Eleonora M.

AU - Johnson, Micah A.

AU - Cousins, Scott W.

AU - Zhuang, Jie

AU - Madden, David J.

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N2 - Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in developed nations, has been associated with poor performance on tests of phonemic fluency. This pilot study sought to (1) characterize the relationship between phonemic fluency and resting-state functional brain connectivity in AMD patients and (2) determine whether regional connections associated with phonemic fluency in AMD patients were similarly linked to phonemic fluency in healthy participants. Behavior-based connectivity analysis was applied to resting-state, functional magnetic resonance imaging data from seven patients (mean age=79.9±7.5 years) with bilateral AMD who completed fluency tasks prior to imaging. Phonemic fluency was inversely related to the strength of functional connectivity (FC) among six pairs of brain regions, representing eight nodes: left opercular portion of inferior frontal gyrus (which includes Broca's area), left superior temporal gyrus (which includes part of Wernicke's area), inferior parietal lobe (bilaterally), right superior parietal lobe, right supramarginal gyrus, right supplementary motor area, and right precentral gyrus. The FC of these reference links was not related to phonemic fluency among 32 healthy individuals (16 younger adults, mean age=23.5±4.6 years and 16 older adults, mean age=68.3±3.4 years). Compared with healthy individuals, AMD patients exhibited higher mean connectivity within the reference links and within the default mode network, possibly reflecting compensatory changes to support performance in the setting of reduced vision. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that phonemic fluency deficits in AMD reflect underlying brain changes that develop in the context of AMD.

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