Lexical retrieval in discourse: An early indicator of Alzheimer's dementia

Seija Pekkala, Debra Wiener, Jayandra J. Himali, Alexa S. Beiser, Loraine K. Obler, Yulin Liu, Ann McKee, Sanford Auerbach, Sudha Seshadri, Philip A. Wolf, Rhoda Au

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


We examined the progression of lexical-retrieval deficits in individuals with neuropathologically determined Alzheimer's disease (AD; n=23) and a comparison group without criteria for AD (n=24) to determine whether linguistic changes were a significant marker of the disease. Our participants underwent multiple administrations of a neuropsychological battery, with initial administration occurring on average 16 years prior to death. The battery included the Boston Naming Test (BNT), a letter fluency task (FAS) and written description of the Cookie Theft Picture (CTP). Repeated measures analysis revealed that the AD-group showed progressively greater decline in FAS and CTP lexical performance than the comparison group. Cross-sectional time-specific group comparisons indicated that the CTP differentiated performance between the two groups at 7-9 years prior to death and FAS and BNT only at 2-4 years. These results suggest that lexical-retrieval deficits in written discourse serve as an early indicator of AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-921
Number of pages17
JournalClinical Linguistics and Phonetics
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Discourse
  • Early markers
  • Naming
  • Neuropathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Lexical retrieval in discourse: An early indicator of Alzheimer's dementia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this