Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First example of a heritable abnormality affecting semantic cognition found

Date:
June 19, 2012
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
Four generations of a single family have been found to possess an abnormality within a specific brain region which appears to affect their ability to recall verbal material, a new study by researchers.

Four generations of a single family have been found to possess an abnormality within a specific brain region which appears to affect their ability to recall verbal material, a new study by researchers at the University of Bristol and University College London has found.

This is the first suggestion of a heritable abnormality in otherwise healthy humans, and has important implications for our understanding of the genetic basis of cognition.

Dr Josie Briscoe of Bristol's School of Experimental Psychology and colleagues at the Institute of Child Health in London studied eight members of a single family aged from eight to 72. Despite all having high levels of intelligence since childhood, they experience profound difficulties in recalling sentences and prose, and language difficulties in listening comprehension and naming less common objects.

While their conversation is articulate and engaging, they can experience the inability to 'find' a particular word or topic -- a phenomenon similar to the 'tip-of-the-tongue' problem experienced by many people. They also report associated problems such as struggling to follow a narrative thread while reading or watching television drama.

Dr Briscoe said: "With their consent, we conducted a number of standard memory and language tests on the affected members of the family. These showed they had difficulty repeating longer sentences correctly and learning words in lists and pairs. This suggests their difficulties lie in semantic cognition -- the way people construct and generate meaning from words, objects and ideas.

"Given the very wide variation in age, the coherence of their difficulties in semantic cognition was remarkable."

The researchers also used Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to study the brains of the affected family members and found they had reduced grey matter in the posterior inferior portion of the temporal lobe, a brain area known to be involved in semantic cognition.

Dr Briscoe said: "These brain abnormalities were surprising to find in healthy people, particularly in the same family, although similar brain regions have been implicated in research with older adults with neurological problems that are linked to semantic cognition.

"Our findings have uncovered a potential causal link between anomalous neuroanatomy and semantic cognition in a single family. Importantly, the pattern of inheritance appears as a potentially dominant trait. This may well prove to be the first example of a heritable, highly specific abnormality affecting semantic cognition in humans."

The study is published June 20, in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Briscoe, R. Chilvers, T. Baldeweg, D. Skuse. A specific cognitive deficit within semantic cognition across a multi-generational family. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.0894

Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "First example of a heritable abnormality affecting semantic cognition found." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120619225839.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2012, June 19). First example of a heritable abnormality affecting semantic cognition found. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120619225839.htm
University of Bristol. "First example of a heritable abnormality affecting semantic cognition found." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120619225839.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins