Although semantic memory impairment is well documented in patients with dementia of the Alzheimer's type, questions remain as to whether the deficit extends to other forms of dementia and whether it differentially affects different domains of knowledge. We examined category naming on two tasks (picture naming and naming-to-description) in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD: n = 11), Lewy body dementia (DLB: n = 11) and healthy elderly matched controls (n = 22). The DLB and AD groups showed significantly worse naming on both tasks, although the AD patients were more impaired than the DLB patients. Like some AD patients, some DLB patients showed evidence of category-specific naming deficits, and strikingly, all 25 significant category dissociations were for living things. The latter finding accords with the preponderance of living deficits previously documented for AD patients, but extends this finding to DLB patients. The implications of this category bias is discussed in relation to relevant models of category specificity.
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