Low Speech Connectedness in Alzheimer's Disease is Associated with Poorer Semantic Memory Performance

J Alzheimers Dis. 2021;82(3):905-912. doi: 10.3233/JAD-210134.


Connected speech is an everyday activity. We aimed to investigate whether connected speech can differentiate oral narrative production between adults with Alzheimer's disease (AD; n = 24) and cognitively healthy older adults (n = 48). We used graph attributes analysis to represent connected speech. Participants produced oral narratives and performed semantic, episodic, and working memory tasks. AD patients produced less connected narratives than cognitively healthy older adults. Connectedness was associated with semantic memory in AD and with episodic memory in controls. Word-graphs connectedness represents a practical tool to assess cognitive impairment in AD patients.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; cognitive decline; graph theory; natural language processing; semantic memory.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis
  • Memory Disorders / psychology*
  • Memory, Episodic*
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Narration
  • Semantics*
  • Speech / physiology*