Spontaneous Speech in Dementia

Keywords: Alzheimer’s Disease, early-onset Alzheimer’s patients, spontaneous speech Alzheimer’s patients, declarative sentences, interrogative sentences.


Introduction. Although memory impairment is the main symptom of Alzheimer Disease (AD), language impairment can be an important evidence, too. In many researches, it is stated that language is impaired in a different way in AD. Syntax, which is the sub-field of language are more preserved compared to the other fields. However, it is also known that syntactic features of AD patients can also be impaired in the moderate and severe stages of the illness. Another important thing that is important to differentiate the effects of illness is the onset. There are two subtypes of AD: early-onset (befor 65 years old) and late-onset (after 65 yaers old). Compared to late-onset, early onset Alzheimer’s Disease (EOAD) is often associated with atypical symptoms including language and visuospatial dysfunction. Thus, in this study it was aimed to analyse the spontaneous speech of EOAD patients via two language tests and compare it with an age/education-matched control. In this analysis, just the declarative and interrogative sentences were compared.

The results show that the number of declarative and interrogative sentences used by the EOAD patients differs from the control people. EOAD patients used more affirmative and interrogative sentences in story-picture sequencing test and more negative sentences in subject-based narration test compared to the control group. However, control group used more negative sentences in story-picture sequencing test and more affirmative and interrogative sentences in subject-based narration test compared to the EOAD patients.

Conclusions. The working memory is the ability to maintain and use information for a short period of time and due to the working memory deficits in EOAD patients, the use of sentence types differ from age/matched healthy people.


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Can, E., & Kuruoğlu, G. (2019). Spontaneous Speech in Dementia. PSYCHOLINGUISTICS, 26(2), 175-189. https://doi.org/10.31470/2309-1797-2019-26-2-175-189