Ideational action impairments in Alzheimer's disease.
Chainay H., Louarn C., Humphreys GW.
We report data from a group of patients with mild Alzheimer's disease on a range of tasks requiring either stored semantic knowledge about objects (e.g., naming object use) or the execution of action to objects (e.g., miming and using objects). We found that the patients were impaired at miming in response to objects, even when they could describe the object's function. On the other hand, copying gestures was not impaired relative to naming gestures, indicating that an ideomotor deficit in action execution, per se, was unlikely to explain the impairments in object use. We suggest instead that the patients had an impairment in stored motor programmes for action, over and above their deficits in semantic knowledge. Despite this, the patients were better at using than at miming to objects, consistent with the view that proprioceptive input (when using objects) can directly constrain selection of the appropriate motor programme for action.