The effects of age-induced changes in communicative abilities on the type of aphasia

Brain Lang. 1996 Jul;54(1):75-85. doi: 10.1006/brln.1996.0061.


The purpose of this study was to explore the possibility that some normal age-related changes in aspects of conversational discourse could account for the recurrent finding in aphasiology that fluent aphasics are approximately a decade older than their nonfluent counterparts. Normal subjects taken from two age groups representative of the mean age of fluent and nonfluent aphasics were submitted to an interview similar to the one used with aphasic patients in order to evaluate fluency. Results showed that, in answer to both closed and open questions, older subjects' discourse was made up of more than three times as many morphemes as younger subjects' discourse. The increase in fluency was more marked for men than it was for women. Thus, discourse-expressed changes in communicative strategies among the elderly could contribute to the semiology of language impairments in such a way that nonfluent aphasias would be more frequent. The reasons for this change in normal controls are still unknown but have been proposed to range from biological to sociological age-related characteristics of the individual.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aphasia / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Disorders / complications*
  • Language Disorders / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Speech Production Measurement