Components in the breakdown of verbal communication in Alzheimer's disease

Sergio Della Sala, Lorena Lorenzi, Marta Zuffi, Hans Spinnler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A retrospective study was conducted on 66 Alzheimer patients and 66 age-, education- and sex-matched healthy controls. The broad aim was to gain further understanding of the verbal communication disorders of Alzheimer patients by comparing two tests for their sensitivity to Alzheimer's disease; namely an ‘active’ and a ‘passive’ oral language test; respectively a classic Semantically cued Word Generation (SWG), and a Sentence Comprehension Test, the Token Test (TT). The results show that nearly half of our Alzheimer patients are below cut-off on each test, that only a quarter were impaired both on TT on SWG (often patients impaired on one test were not impaired on the other), and that the two tests were poorly correlated in both healthy controls and Alzheimer patients. Nevertheless, the two tests have a comparable specificity in telling Alzheimer patients apart from matched healthy controls. The different processing sub-components for word generation and sentence comprehension and the impact Alzheimer's disease has on them are discussed. These findings are interpreted in terms of a two-component (namely, verbal, or aphasic, and extra-verbal, or dysexecutive) view of the language disorders of Alzheimer patients, and single cases are shown with a ‘dissociated’ performance on the two tests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-299
Number of pages15
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Neurology
  • LPN and LVN
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Components in the breakdown of verbal communication in Alzheimer's disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this