Efficacy of language assessment in Alzheimer's disease: comparing in-person examination and telemedicine

Clin Interv Aging. 2006;1(4):467-71. doi: 10.2147/ciia.2006.1.4.467.


Background: With the large number of aging individuals requiring screening of cognitive functions for dementing illnesses, there is a necessity for innovative evaluation approaches. One domain that should allow for online, at a distance, examination is speech and language dysfunction, if the auditory and visual transmission is of sufficient quality to allow adequate patient participation and reliable, valid interpretation of signs and symptoms (Duffy et al 1997).

Objective: Examine the effectiveness of language assessment in mild Alzheimer's patients using telemedicine (TM) compared with traditional in-person (IP) assessment.

Design: Ten patients with mild Alzheimer's disease, enrolled at a Geriatric Memory Clinic received a battery of standard language tests under two conditions: face-to-face and via satellite TM.

Results: Comparison of TM and IP testing conditions were assessed within each for scores on each test in the two conditions. On each of the five language tasks, the Wilcoxon signed ranks test indicated no significant difference on performance between the TM and IP conditions for each participant. Overall acceptance of the TM evaluation in an elderly population was rated at a high level except for one individual.

Conclusion: Telemedicine can improve access to speech and language evaluation services which is relevant to both dementia and other neurological diseases of the elderly. In particular, this specific assessment tool can be used to provide evaluations in under-served rural areas.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Language Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Language Tests
  • Male
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Telemedicine / instrumentation*