Title : Memory decline in dementia and its impact on spoken spontaneous discourse production
Memory decline and impairments occur predominantly in people with dementia (PWD). Deficits in episodic and verbal short-term memory (vSTM) have been widely reported in PWD. Analysis of spoken spontaneous discourse is becoming more popular in dementia research as well as clinical evaluation of PWD because it considers linguistic deficits with reference to cognitive demands. In particular, episodic memory is responsible for the retrieval of past information, while vSTM is required to store verbal information temporarily to continue the flow of oral discourse. At present, there is limited literature in examining the relationship between memory and discourse production in PWD or speakers with mild cognitive impairment (MCI); none of which has specifically studied Cantonese Chinese-speaking PWD. The current presentation aims to report a recent investigation of how oral discourse production varied as a function of episodic memory and vSTM in native Cantonese-speakers with dementia. Samples of personal narratives and picture description, elicited following the Cantonese AphasiaBank protocol, were included from 104 Cantonese-speaking PWD. The deficits in episodic memory among PWD were evaluated following the protocol in Seixas-Lima et al. (2021). Sub-tasks in Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA) and Oxford Cognitive Screen-Plus were used to assess vSTM impairments. The discourse samples were quantified in terms of global coherence and informativeness. The final results, which echoed Western studies that had shown significant associations between memory and discourse measures, will be presented. Apart from enhancing our understanding of the role memory plays in spoken discourse, this study provided some clinical insights for managing Cantonese-speaking PWD.
What will audience learn from your presentation?
- The audience will be able to summarize spoken discourse deficits demonstrated by speakers with dementia.
- In terms of clinical practice, the audience will be able to explain the relationship between memory and spoken discourse.
- In terms of research, the audience will be able to hypothesize factors apart from memory that may impact on spoken discourse production.