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EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL AND REHABILITATION MEDICINE
A Journal on Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation after Pathological Events
Official Journal of the , , , ,
In association with
Indexed/Abstracted in: CINAHL, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 2,063
Europa Medicophysica 2002 June;38(2):97-105
Semantic memory deficits following Herpes Simplex Encephalitis (HSE). A single-case study
Zanini S., Borgo F., Vorano L., De Luca G.
From the Department of Physiology and Pathology, University of Trieste, Italy *Faculty of Psychology, University of Trieste, Italy **Rehabilitation Medicine Department Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Institute Udine, Italy
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Semantic memory disorders following HSE are frequently characterised by the category specificity effect, namely the living things domain more disrupted then the non-living things one. Whether this is due to a categorical organisation of the semantic system or to a deficit in processing basic information necessary for item identification, is still under debate. We tested these two hypotheses. A single-case study of HSE with category specificity effect was undertaken. The patient was studied six months post-onset during rehabilitation at the Clinical Neuropsychology Office of our Rehabilita-tion Unit. The patient was tested on several tasks tapping semantic representation of living thing, “mass” kind, and non-living thing domains. Besides classic category specificity impairment, the patient presented consistent deficit in processing semantic features of items when sensory attributes were presented compared to functional ones irrespectively of the item domain class (living, “mass” kinds, or non-living things). These findings suggest that the category specificity effect is not determined by a categorical deficit within the semantic system but is rather due to impairment in processing sensory attributes that underpin semantic representation. This poses the theoretical basis for cognitive rehabilitation of semantic memory deficits following HSE.