Neuropsychologia 2012 Feb 28;50(3):390-5. Epub 2011 Dec 28.
UCLA School of Medicine, 760 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024, United States.
Background: The basal ganglia (BG) are involved in executive language functions (i.e., verbal fluency) through their connections with cortical structures. The caudate and putamen receive separate inputs from prefrontal and premotor cortices, and may differentially contribute to verbal fluency performance. We examined BG integrity in relation to lexico-semantic verbal fluency performance among older HIV infected adults.
Method: 20 older (50+ years) HIV+ adults underwent MRI and were administered measures of semantic and phonemic fluency. BG (caudate, putamen) regions of interest were extracted.
Results: Performance on phonemic word generation significantly predicted caudate volume, whereas performance on phonemic switching predicted putamen volume.
Conclusions: These findings suggest a double dissociation of BG involvement in verbal fluency tasks with the caudate subserving word generation and the putamen associated with switching. As such, verbal fluency tasks appear to be selective to BG function.