Glioma patients often suffer from deficits in language and executive functioning. Performance in verbal fluency (generating words within one minute according to a semantic category–category fluency, or given letter–letter fluency) is typically impaired in this patient group. While both language and executive functioning play a role in verbal fluency, the relative contribution of both domains remains unclear. We aim to retrospectively investigate glioma patients’ performance on verbal and nonverbal fluency and to explore the influence of language and executive functioning on verbal fluency. Sixty-nine adults with gliomas in eloquent areas underwent a neuropsychological test battery (verbal fluency, nonverbal fluency, language, and executive functioning tests) before surgery (T1) and a subgroup of 31 patients also at three (T2) and twelve months (T3) after surgery. Preoperatively, patients were impaired in all verbal fluency tasks and dissociations were found based on tumour location. In contrast, nonverbal fluency was intact. Different language and executive functioning tests predicted performance on category fluency animals and letter fluency, while no significant predictors for category fluency professions were found. The longitudinal results indicated that category fluency professions deteriorated after surgery (T1–T2, T1–T3) and that nonverbal fluency improved after surgery (T1–T3, T2–T3). Verbal fluency performance can provide information on different possible underlying deficits in language and executive functioning in glioma patients, depending on verbal fluency task selection. Efficient task (order) selection can be based on complexity. Category fluency professions can be selected to detect more permanent long-term deficits.

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This post is Copyright: Ellen Collée,
Esther van den Berg,
Evy Visch‐Brink,
Arnaud Vincent,
Clemens Dirven,
Djaina Satoer | December 13, 2023
Wiley: Journal of Neuropsychology: Table of Contents