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Verbal fluency as a screening tool for mild cognitive impairment

  • Michelle McDonnell (a1), Lauren Dill (a2), Stella Panos (a3) (a4), Stacy Amano (a5), Warren Brown (a5), Shadee Giurgius (a6), Gary Small (a3) and Karen Miller (a3)...



The goal of this study was to evaluate the ability of semantic (animal naming) and phonemic (FAS) fluency in their ability to discriminate between normal aging, amnestic-Mild Cognitive Impairment (a-MCI), and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).


We used binary logistic regressions, multinomial regressions, and discriminant analysis to evaluate the predictive value of semantic and phonemic fluency in regards to specific diagnostic classifications.


Outpatient geriatric neuropsychology clinic.


232 participants (normal aging = 99, a-MCI = 90, AD = 43; mean age = 65.75 years).


Mini-mental State Examination (MMSE), Controlled Oral Word Association Test


Results indicate that semantic and phonemic fluency were significant predictors of diagnostic classification, and semantic fluency explained a greater amount of the discriminant ability of the model.


These results suggest that verbal fluency, particularly semantic fluency, may be an accurate and efficient tool in screening for early dementia in time-limited medical settings.


Corresponding author

*Correspondence should be addressed to: Karen Miller, UCLA Longevity Center, 10945 Le Conte Avenue, Suite 3119, Los Angeles, CA 90095-6980, USA. Phone: 310-267-2663; Fax: 310-794-0681. Email:


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Verbal fluency as a screening tool for mild cognitive impairment

  • Michelle McDonnell (a1), Lauren Dill (a2), Stella Panos (a3) (a4), Stacy Amano (a5), Warren Brown (a5), Shadee Giurgius (a6), Gary Small (a3) and Karen Miller (a3)...


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