STATES CHRONICLE – A recent study discovered a new way to detect the onset of dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other diseases leading to cognitive decline. It seems that we have to look at a person’s speech patterns. Becoming less fluent is the first sign, as it appears before memory loss.
Slower speech might be a sign of cognitive decline
This is the first study which links any kind of speech modification with cognitive problems. Any kind of changes in fluency, including especially pauses during speech, show a mildly slower thinking capacity, as well as small issues with memory. These are, actually, the first signs of dementia. What this means is the fact that we could monitor a person’s speech and detect the early signs of cognitive decline.
Older people shouldn’t worry if, one time, they found it harder to find their words. However, if this phenomenon happens often during a shorter period of time, it’s a sign there is a problem. Also, people might find it harder to speak as time passes, and their communication skills are seriously affected.
The study was performed by scientists from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. They monitored the speech capabilities of 400 people who had no signs of cognitive decline, as well as 264 people who were already in the records of Wisconsin’s Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention. These people were at high risk due to their history of the disease in their families.
Don’t neglect any changes in your speech fluency
Those who already showed small signs of cognitive decline had it a little harder in performing the tests. They were asked to describe images, and used significantly shorter sentences, used more pronouns instead of names, and made frequent pauses followed by “um” or “ah”.
Small signs of cognitive decline are natural after a certain age and, as the study showed, only 15 or 20 percent of these people end up developing Alzheimer’s. However, you shouldn’t neglect any kind of speech changes you might experience, especially if they start slowing down your communication abilities.
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