Semantic intrusion errors as a function of age, amyloid, and volumetric loss: A confirmatory path analysis

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Objective: To examine the direct and indirect effects of age, APOE Ïμ 4 genotype, amyloid positivity, and volumetric reductions in AD-prone brain regions as it relates to semantic intrusion errors reflecting proactive semantic interference (PSI) and the failure to recover from proactive semantic interference (frPSI) on the Loewenstein-Acevedo Scales of Semantic Interference and Learning (LASSI-L), a cognitive stress test that has been consistently more predictive of preclinical and prodromal Alzheimer's disease (AD) than traditional list-learning tests. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: 1Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Center baseline study. Participants: Two-hundred and twelve participants with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score above 16 and a broad array of cognitive diagnoses ranging from cognitively normal (CN) to dementia, of whom 58% were female, mean age of 72.1 (SD 7.9). Measures: Participants underwent extensive clinical and neuropsychological evaluations, MR and amyloid Positron Emission Tomography/Computer/Computer Tomography (PET/CT) imaging, and analyses of APOE Ï μ 4 genotype. Confirmatory path analyses were conducted in the structural equation modeling framework that estimated multiple equations simultaneously while controlling for important covariates such as sex, education, language of evaluation, and global cognitive impairment. Results: Both amyloid positivity and decreased brain volumes in AD-prone regions were directly related to LASSI-L Cued B1 and Cued B2 intrusions (sensitive to PSI and frPSI effects) even after controlling for covariates. APOE Ï μ 4 status did not evidence direct effects on these LASSI-L cognitive markers, but rather exerted their effects on amyloid positivity, which in turn related to PSI and frPSI. Similarly, age did not have a direct relationship with LASSI-L scores, but exerted its effects indirectly through amyloid positivity and volumes of AD-prone brain regions. Conclusions: Our study provides insight into the relationships among age, APOE Ïμ 4, amyloid, and brain volumetric reductions as it relates to semantic intrusion errors. The investigation expands our understanding of the underpinnings of PSI and frPSI intrusions in a large cohort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Psychogeriatrics
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Mild Cognitive Impairment
  • amyloid
  • intrusion errors
  • path analysis
  • preclinical Alzheimer's disease
  • semantic interference
  • structural MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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