Blog Archives

Conflict resolution strategies in children with normal language development: cooperation or individualism?

CONCLUSION: At 7 and 8 years of age, children with normal language development frequently use unilateral and cooperative strategies to solve problems.

from Revista de Sociedade Brasileira de Fonoaudiologia

Older Adults Expend More Listening Effort Than Young Adults Recognizing Speech in Noise

Conclusions: Older adults require more processing resources to understand speech in noise. Dual-task measures and subjective ratings tap different aspects of listening effort.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Demographically corrected norms for African Americans and Caucasians on the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised, Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised, Stroop Color and Word Test, and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test 64-Card Version

Memory and executive functioning are two important components of clinical neuropsychological (NP) practice and research. Multiple demographic factors are known to affect performance differentially on most NP tests, but adequate normative corrections, inclusive of race/ethnicity, are not available for many widely used instruments. This study compared demographic contributions for widely used tests of verbal and visual learning and memory (Brief Visual Memory Test-Revised, Hopkins Verbal Memory Test-Revised) and executive functioning (Stroop Color and Word Test, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test-64) in groups of healthy Caucasians (n = 143) and African Americans (n = 103). Demographic factors of age, education, gender, and race/ethnicity were found to be significant factors on some indices of all four tests. The magnitude of demographic contributions (especially age) was greater for African Americans than for Caucasians on most measures. New, demographically corrected T-score formulas were calculated for each race/ethnicity. The rates of NP impairment using previously published normative standards significantly overestimated NP impairment in African Americans. Utilizing the new demographic corrections developed and presented herein, NP impairment rates were comparable between the two race/ethnicities and were unrelated to the other demographic characteristics (age, education, gender) in either race/ethnicity group. Findings support the need to consider extended demographic contributions to neuropsychological test performance in clinical and research settings.

from the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology

Working Memory Supports Listening in Noise for Persons with Hearing Impairment


Working memory is a crucial factor in speech understanding in noise for persons with hearing impairment, irrespective of whether hearing is aided or unaided. Working memory supports speech understanding in noise under conditions of both “high degradation” and “low degradation.” A subcomponent view of working memory may contribute to our understanding of these phenomena. The effect of cognition on speech understanding in modulated noise with fast-acting compression may only pertain after a period of 4-9 wk of familiarization and that prior to such a period, persons with lower cognitive capacity may benefit more from slow-acting compression.

from the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology

Neurocognitive and Behavioral Outcomes of Younger Siblings of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder at Age Five

Later-born siblings of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are at increased risk for ASD as well as qualitatively similar traits not meeting clinical cutoffs for the disorder. This study examined age five neurocognitive and behavioral outcomes of 39 younger siblings of children with ASD (Sibs-ASD) and 22 younger siblings of typically developing children (Sibs-TD) previously assessed in a longitudinal investigation starting in the second year of life. There were few group differences between Sibs-TD and Sibs-ASD on global measures of IQ, language, or behavior problems. Sibs-ASD did show vulnerabilities on measures of executive functioning, social cognition, and repetitive behaviors. These results highlight the importance of following sibling risk groups over an extended time period and employing measures targeting broader aspects of development.

from the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Effects of Automatic/Controlled Access Processes on Semantic Memory in Alzheimer’s Disease

This study examines the impact of automatic/controlled access processes on the semantic network in 30 patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The AD group was compared with a control group using a battery of neuropsychological tests, a variation of Hodges’s semantic testing battery, designed to assess semantic knowledge. The AD group had markedly lower scores than the normal group on each semantic test, but with a different degree of deterioration depending on the nature of the processes (controlled/automatic) in accessing the semantic network. AD patients had poorer performances on the explicit semantic tasks mainly involving controlled-process access (e.g., the WAIS Similarities Subtest) than those involving mainly automatic-process access (e.g., the Verbal Automatism test). Analyses of confidence intervals allowed a gradient of impaired performances in increasing order to be elaborated: a) the Verbal Automatism test, b) the WAIS Vocabulary Subtest, c) the WAIS Information Subtest, d) the Letter Fluency Task, e) Naming as a Response to Definition, f) the Category Fluency Task, g) the WAIS Similarities Subtest, and h) the Oral Denomination 80 Test. The results of our study suggest that explicit semantic tasks needing passive or automatic processes to access semantic memory would be better preserved in AD.

from the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

Sustained Effects of Once-Daily Memantine Treatment on Cognition and Functional Communication Skills in Patients with Moderate to Severe Alzheimer’s Disease: Results of a 16-Week Open-Label Trial

The present study evaluated the effects of once-daily memantine (20 mg) treatment on cognition and communication in patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In a multicenter, single-arm open-label study, outpatients diagnosed with AD (MMSE < 20; n = 97) were titrated from 5 mg to 20 mg once-daily memantine over 4 weeks. Once-daily memantine treatment (20 mg) was then continued for 8 weeks, followed by a 4-week wash-out period. The primary efficacy endpoint was the change from baseline in the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease -Neuropsychological Battery (CERAD-NP) total score. Secondary efficacy endpoints included change from baseline in Functional Communication Language Inventory (FLCI) and ADCS-ADL19 total score, and the response from baseline in Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGI-C). The CERAD-NP total score improved significantly after 12 weeks of once-daily memantine treatment compared with baseline (5.9 ± 8.8; p < 0.0001). The FLCI total score improved significantly after 12 weeks compared with baseline (4.4 ± 6.8; p < 0.0001). These significant improvements were already observed after 4 and 8 weeks of once-daily memantine treatment and persisted after a 4-week wash-out period. ADCS-ADL19 total scores showed only slight increases from baseline, and CGI-C indicated that the majority of patients experienced an improvement or stabilization of the disease after 12 weeks. At least one Treatment-Emergent Adverse Event was reported by 38 (39.2%) patients. In patients with moderate to severe AD, once-daily memantine (20mg) treatment significantly improved cognition and functional communication and was found to have a favorable safety and tolerability profile.

from the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

The attribution of mental states in the speech of children with autistic spectrum disorders

The attribution of mental states increased after a period of speech-language intervention, however, with no significant difference; there was an increase in the verbal behavior of children with autism.

from Revista de Sociedade Brasileira de Fonoaudiologia

Blind randomized controlled study of the efficacy of cognitive training in Parkinson’s disease

The aim of this study was to analyze the efficacy of a cognitive training program on cognitive performance and quality of life in nondemented Parkinson’s disease patients. Participants who met UK Brain Bank diagnosis criteria for Parkinson’s disease, with I–III Hoehn & Yahr, aged 50–80, and nondemented (Mini-Mental State Examination ≥ 23) were recruited. Patient’s cognitive performance and functional and quality-of-life measures were assessed with standardized neuropsychological tests and scales at baseline and after 4 weeks. Subjects were randomly and blindly allocated by age and premorbid intelligence (Vocabulary, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III) into 2 groups: an experimental group and a control group. The experimental group received 4 weeks of 3 weekly 45-minute sessions using multimedia software and paper-and-pencil cognitive exercises, and the control group received speech therapy. A total of 28 patients were analyzed. Compared with the control group participants (n = 12), the experimental group participants (n = 16) demonstrated improved performance in tests of attention, information processing speed, memory, visuospatial and visuoconstructive abilities, semantic verbal fluency, and executive functions. There were no observable benefits in self-reported quality of life or cognitive difficulties in activities of daily living. We concluded that intensive cognitive training may be a useful tool in the management of cognitive functions in Parkinson’s disease. © 2011 Movement Disorder Society

from Movement Disorders

Diffusion tensor imaging of the hippocampus and verbal memory performance: The RUN DMC Study

Conclusion: Microstructural integrity of the hippocampus assessed by DTI is related to verbal memory performance in elderly with SVD, also in participants with an intact appearing hippocampus. Changes in hippocampal microstructure may be an early marker of underlying neurodegenerative disease, before macrostructural (i.e., volumetric) changes occur.

from Human Brain Mapping

Expressive language and cognitive development: diversity and complexity of children’s productions*

the PELCDO-r allowed the characterization of expressive language and cognitive development by means of the objective observation of this process concerning the diversity and complexity of subjects’ productions, considering the period between the fourth phase of sensorimotor stage and the beginning of preoperational stage.

from Pró-Fono Revista de Atualização Científica

Neuropsycholinguistic findings in Crouzon syndrome: case report

The aim of this study was to relate the neuropsycholinguistic abilities of a male child with eigth years and two months, diagnosed with Crouzon syndrome. The characterization of neropsycholinguitic abilities was based on a interdisciplinary evaluation carried out by a speech-language pathologist, a neurologist, and a psychologist. Speech-language evaluation included the assessment of communication skills, oral (phonological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic abilities) and written language. The neuropsychological assessment used the Wechsler Scale for Children. The neurological evaluation was focused on the results of magnetic resonance imaging. The subject also carried out an audiological evaluation, which showed mild conductive hearing loss. In the oral language assessment, phonological and semantic deficits were observed. Written language performance was also below the expected for the subject’s age, characterized mainly by writing and arithmetic deficits. The neuropsychological evaluation showed normal Intellectual Quotient. The results of the magnetic resonance imaging showed structural alterations of the central nervous system. Thus, the findings evidenced oral and written language deficits, and presence of structural alterations of the central nervous system.

from Revista de Sociedade Brasileira de Fonoaudiologia

Alcohol Consumption and Domain-Specific Cognitive Function in Older Adults: Longitudinal Data From the Johns Hopkins Precursors Study

Discussion. Results suggest that higher alcohol consumption in midlife may impair some components of executive function in late life.

from the Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences

Predicting the outcome of anomia therapy for people with aphasia post CVA: Both language and cognitive status are key predictors

The aim of this study was to determine whether it was possible to predict therapy gain from participants’ performance on background tests of language and cognitive ability. To do this, we amalgamated the assessment and therapy results from 33 people with aphasia following cerebral vascular accident (CVA), all of whom had received the same anomia therapy (based on progressive phonemic and orthographic cueing). Previous studies with smaller numbers of participants had found a possible relationship between anomia therapy performance and some language and cognitive assessments. Because this study had access to a larger data set than previous studies, we were able to replicate the previous findings and also to verify two overarching factors which were predictive of therapy gain: a cognitive factor and a phonological factor. The status of these two domains was able to predict both immediate and longer-term therapy gain. Pre-treatment naming ability also predicted gain after the anomia therapy. When combined, both cognitive and language (naming or phonological) skills were found to be independent predictors of therapy outcome.

from Neuropsychological Rehabilitation

Developmental Trajectories From Birth to School Age in Healthy Term-Born Children

In healthy children the stability of motor development from birth until school age is low. Maternal socioeconomic status and verbal intelligence rather than the infants’ scores on early motor tests signified added value for complex cognitive functions at school age

from Pediatrics