Repetition of single words and nonwords in Alzheimer's disease

Cortex. 1997 Dec;33(4):653-66. doi: 10.1016/s0010-9452(08)70723-8.


Repetition of single words and pronounceable nonwords (pseudowords) was assessed in Alzheimer's Disease (AD) patients to evaluate how lexical phonological processing might be accomplished when semantic and conceptual knowledge is impaired. AD patients performed significantly worse than healthy elderly controls on all repetition tasks. However, repetition abilities and dementia severity were not correlated, and AD patients produced the same distribution of error types as controls. Furthermore, despite their semantic problems, AD patients, like controls, showed a significant advantage for repeating real words compared to pseudowords, even when repeating low frequency phonologically complex words whose meaning is not likely to have been retained. The results support the postulated existence of a lexical phonological system that is used to repeat both known and novel words and that processes linguistic information independent of its meaning.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mental Processes / physiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Semantics
  • Verbal Learning / physiology*