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Hyperfamiliarity in Amnestic and Vascular Mild Cognitive Impairment

  • Pei Shi Chia (a1) (a2), Shahul Hameed (a1) (a2) (a3), Kok Pin Yong (a1) (a2), Ling Ling Chan (a4) (a3) and Simon Kang Seng Ting (a1) (a2) (a3)...


Objective: Hyperfamiliarity is a phenomenon where new stimuli are perceived as familiar. Previous studies have demonstrated familiarity disorder in mild cognitive impairment (MCI), but mostly from the perspective of a neuropsychological approach, and the exact correlation of MCI aetiologies with the phenomenon remains uncertain. Based on current evidence suggesting a frontal-subcortical pathway contributing to familiarity processing, we hypothesize that individuals with a vascular aetiology of MCI will likely suffer more familiarity deficits. This study aims to examine the real-life hyperfamiliarity symptoms in amnestic versus vascular MCI. Methods: Informants of 11 amnestic and 9 vascular cognitive impairment patients were interviewed about the frequency of hyperfamiliarity symptoms in the previous month. MRI brain images of vascular cognitive impairment patients were analysed as well. Results: Patients with vascular cognitive impairment with no dementia (VCIND) showed a significantly higher frequency of hyperfamiliarity for people but not places or objects. Within VCIND patients, overall basal ganglia hyperintensities, particularly in the putamen, were found to significantly correlate to hyperfamiliarity. Conclusions: Patients with VCIND suffer more real-life hyperfamiliarity during people recognition compared to patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), despite a comparative global decline in cognitive. This is likely due to impaired memory retrieval and matching processes resulting from subcortical ischaemic lesions.

Hyperfamiliarité dans le déficit cognitif léger de type amnésique et de type vasculaire. Objectif: L’hyperfamiliarité est un phénomène dans lequel tout nouveau stimulus est perçu comme étant familier. Des études antérieures ont montré la présence du trouble de la familiarité dans le déficit cognitif léger (DCL), principalement du point de vue d’une approche neuropsychologique, et la corrélation exacte entre les étiologies de la DCL et ce phénomène demeure obscure. Considérant les données actuelles suggérant qu’une voie fronto-sous-corticale jouerait un rôle dans la familiarité, nous avons émis l’hypothèse que les individus dont le DCL est d’origine vasculaire présentent vraisemblablement plus de déficits de la familiarité. Le but de cette étude était d’examiner les symptômes concrets d’hyperfamiliarité chez des patients atteints de DCL de type amnésique par rapport à ceux atteints de DCL de type vasculaire. Méthodologie: Nous avons rencontré des proches de 11 patients atteints de DCL de type amnésique et de 9 patients atteints de DCL de type vasculaire pour connaître la fréquence des symptômes d’hyperfamiliarité au cours du mois précédent. Nous avons également analysé l’IRM du cerveau de ces patients. Résultats: Les patients atteints d’un déficit cognitif d’origine vasculaire sans démence (DCVSD) présentaient une fréquence significativement plus élevée d’hyperfamiliarité pour les personnes mais pas pour les lieux ou les objets. Parmi les patients atteints de DCVSD nous avons constaté qu’en général il existait une corrélation significative entre l’hyperfamiliarité et les hyperintensités au niveau des noyaux gris centraux, particulièrement dans le putamen. Conclusions: Les patients atteints d’un DCVSD présentent plus d’hyperfamiliarité pour la reconnaissance des personnes comparés aux patients présentant un déficit cognitif léger de type amnésique, malgré un déclin cognitif global comparable. Ceci est vraisemblablement dû à un processus de remémoration et de jumelage altéré résultant de lésions ischémiques sous-corticales.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Pei Shi Chia, Singapore General Hospital, Outram Road, Singapore 169608, Singapore. E-mail:


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Hyperfamiliarity in Amnestic and Vascular Mild Cognitive Impairment

  • Pei Shi Chia (a1) (a2), Shahul Hameed (a1) (a2) (a3), Kok Pin Yong (a1) (a2), Ling Ling Chan (a4) (a3) and Simon Kang Seng Ting (a1) (a2) (a3)...


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