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Commun Sci Disord. 2011;16(2): 171-184.
Detecting Language Deficits in Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment through Verbal Fluency and Picture Description Tasks
Hyunjoo Choi`
Copyright ©2011 The Korean Academy of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
최현주(Hyunjoo Choi)
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Background & Objectives
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is an intermediate state between normal mental function and dementia, which has become increasingly well defined and is being more extensively studied. However, relatively few studies have looked at the language impairment aspects of patients with MCI, and their results have been inconsistent. The purpose of the present study is to identify semantic language deficits in patients with MCI using a picture description task.
Twenty-three patients with amnestic MCI, 30 patients with mild dementia of Alzheimer’s type (DAT), and 20 elderly individuals with normal cognition (NC) participated in the study. All subjects were Japanese. The tasks included a one-minute verbal fluency task (semantic category: animals, phonetic category: /fu/, /a/ and /ni/) and a picture description task (the Boston Cookie-Theft picture). The picture description task was analyzed for both productivity (total number of syllables, total time and syllables per second) and semantics (total number of content words and number of different content words).
1) Semantic performance on the verbal fluency task varied significantly, with the NC group scoring best, followed by the MCI group, and then the DAT group. 2) Regarding phonetic performance in verbal fluency, the NC group outperformed the MCI and DAT groups, but there were no significant differences between the MCI and DAT groups. 3) No significant differences were observed among the three groups for the productivity of the picture description task. 4) In the semantic analysis of the picture description task, the NC group outperformed the MCI and DAT groups with regard to number of different content words, whereas no significant differences were observed between the MCI and DAT group. In addition, there was no significant difference in the total number of content words among the groups. 5) The number of different contents words was a useful task for diagnosing MCI. Discussion & Conclusions: The present study suggests that deficits in semantic language are identifiable in individuals with MCI and can be revealed through complex tasks such as picture description. Therefore, these picture description tasks are suitable for detecting subtle language deficits in patients with MCI.
Keywords: 경도인지장애 | 알츠하이머형 치매 | 그림설명 | 구어유창성 | Mild Cognitive Impairment | dementia of Alzheimer’s type | picture description
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