Discourse in Early Alzheimer's Disease Versus Normal Advanced Aging The present study compared discourse ability across three groups: patients with mild Alzheimer's disease (AD), healthy old-elderly individuals (OE, >80 years), and normal control subjects (NC). Discourse samples were analyzed according to aspects of coherence using a methodology based on frame analysis (Goffman, 1974). The results revealed significant differences in ... Supplement Article
Supplement Article  |   November 01, 1995
Discourse in Early Alzheimer's Disease Versus Normal Advanced Aging
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sandra Bond Chapman
    Callier Center for Communication Disorders, University of Texas at Dallas
  • Hanna K. Ulatowska
    Callier Center for Communication Disorders, University of Texas at Dallas
  • Kristin King
    Callier Center for Communication Disorders, University of Texas at Dallas
  • Julene K. Johnson
    Callier Center for Communication Disorders, University of Texas at Dallas
  • Donald D. McIntire
    University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas
  • Contact author: Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD, Callier Center for Communication Disorders, University of Texas at Dallas, 1966 Inwood Road, Dallas, TX 75235
Article Information
Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Supplement: Clinical Aphasiology Conference Supplement
Supplement Article   |   November 01, 1995
Discourse in Early Alzheimer's Disease Versus Normal Advanced Aging
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 1995, Vol. 4, 124-129. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0404.124
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 1995, Vol. 4, 124-129. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0404.124

The present study compared discourse ability across three groups: patients with mild Alzheimer's disease (AD), healthy old-elderly individuals (OE, >80 years), and normal control subjects (NC). Discourse samples were analyzed according to aspects of coherence using a methodology based on frame analysis (Goffman, 1974). The results revealed significant differences in coherence between the AD and both the OE and NC groups, on aspects of content as reflected in frame of interpretation and proportion of frame-supporting information. Differences were also found on measures of textual form of the responses. No significant differences were found between OE and NC groups, implicating relative preservation on these particular discourse measures with advanced age. The disparity in discourse abilities between the AD and OE groups suggests that discourse differences in early AD are qualitatively different from those of normal advanced aging. Explanations for the difficulties in the AD population are delineated.

Acknowledgments
This investigation was supported by grants from the National Institute of Aging/National Institutes of Health (AG09486 and 5-P30-AG12300-02). We thank Angela Shobe for her arduous work in preparing this manuscript. We also acknowledge with gratitude our patients with Alzheimer’s disease for teaching us how to interact with them as people beyond a disease and our healthy old-elderly individuals for showing us how to live.
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