Discourse changes in early Alzheimer disease, mild cognitive impairment, and normal aging

Sandra Bond Chapman, Jennifer Zientz, Myron Weiner, Roger Rosenberg, William Frawley, Mary Hope Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine the sensitivity of discourse gist measures to the early cognitive-linguistic changes in Alzheimer disease (AD) and in the preclinical stages. Differences in discourse abilities were examined in 25 cognitively normal adults, 24 adults with mild probable AD, and 20 adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) at gist and detail levels of discourse processing. The authors found that gist and detail levels of discourse processing were significantly impaired in persons with AD and MCI as compared with normal control subjects. Gist-level discourse processing abilities showed minimal overlap between cognitively normal control subjects and those with mild AD. Moreover, the majority of the persons with MCI performed in the range of AD on gist measures. These findings indicate that discourse gist measures hold promise as a diagnostic complement to enhance early detection of AD. Further studies are needed to determine how early the discourse gist deficits arise in AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-186
Number of pages10
JournalAlzheimer disease and associated disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2002


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Aphasia
  • Cognition
  • Diagnosis
  • Discourse
  • Mild cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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