Impaired Speech Processing Ability May Signal Early Dementia

Woman and Hearing AidMost of us associate the onset of dementia with increasing forgetfulness and other memory issues. But a recent study finds that hearing and communications problems could also indicate early dementia.

A joint research effort by Baycrest Health Sciences and the University of Memphis found that by using an electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure activity in brain regions that process speech, signs of communications problems could be detected which then supported the prediction of mild cognitive impairment with 80 percent accuracy.

According to Dr. Claude Alain, the study’s senior author, “this opens a new door in identifying biological markers for dementia since we might consider using the brain’s processing of speech sounds as a new way to detect the disease earlier.” He adds, “one day, doctors could administer a short, 10-minute assessment and instantly provide results.”

This study was published online in the Journal of Neuroscience. Information concerning this study is available at: Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care.

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