Comparison of reading and spelling in patients with probable Alzheimer’s disease.

Patients with probable Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are reported to show mild, but reliable, difficulties reading aloud and spelling to dictation exception words, which have unusual or unpredictable correspondence between their spelling and pronunciation (e.g., touch). To understand the cognitive dysfunction responsible for these impairments, 21 patients and 27 age-and education-matched controls completed specially designed tests of single-word oral reading and spelling to dictation. AD patients performed slightly below controls on all tasks and showed mildly exaggerated regularity effects (i.e., the difference in response accuracy between words with regular spellings minus exception words) in reading and spelling. Qualitative analyses, however, did not demonstrate response patterns consistent with impairment in central lexical orthographic processing. The authors conclude that the mild alexia and agraphia in AD reflect semantic deficits and nonlinguistic impairments rather than a specific disturbance in lexical orthographic processing.

Source: Neuropsychology 1999 Jul;13(3):350-8

PMID: 10447297, UI: 99374963

(Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania, USA.

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