Connected Speech Features from Picture Description in Alzheimer's Disease: A Systematic Review


The language changes that occur over the course of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can impact communication abilities and have profound functional consequences. Picture description tasks can be used to approximate everyday communication abilities of AD patients. As various methods and variables have been studied over the years, current knowledge about the most affected features of AD discourse in the context of picture descriptions is difficult to summarize. This systematic review aims to provide researchers with an overview of the most common areas of impairment in AD discourse as they appear in picture description tasks. Based on the 44 articles fulfilling inclusion criteria, our findings reflect a multidimensional pattern of changes in the production (speech rate), syntactic (length of utterance), lexical (word-frequency and use of pronouns), fluency (repetitions and word-finding difficulties), semantic (information units), and discourse (efficiency) domains. We discuss our findings in the light of current research and point to potential scientific and clinical uses of picture description tasks in the context of AD.

J. Alzheimers Dis.
Antoine Slegers, Ph.D.
Ph.D. candidate