International Psychogeriatrics

Research Article

Microlinguistic aspects of the oral narrative in patients with Alzheimer's disease

Juliana Onofre de Liraa1 c1, Karin Zazo Ortiza1, Aline Carvalho Campanhaa1, Paulo Henrique Ferreira Bertoluccia2 and Thaís Soares Cianciarullo Minetta3

a1 Department of Speech Therapy, São Paulo Federal University, Brazil

a2 Section of Behavioral Neurology, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, São Paulo Federal University, Brazil

a3 Department of Preventive Medicine, São Paulo Federal University, Brazil


Background: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by memory loss and cognitive impairment. Phonological, syntactic, semantic and discursive aspects of language may also be affected. Analysis of micro- and macrolinguistic abilities of discourse may assist in diagnosing AD. The aim of this study was to identify changes in the discourse (lexical errors and syntactic index) of AD patients.

Methods: 121 elderly subjects narrated a story based on a seven-figure picture description.

Results: Patients with AD presented more word-finding difficulties, revisions and repetitions, and the syntactic index was lower than controls.

Conclusion: Performance in microlinguistics at the lexical and syntactic levels was lower than expected in participants with AD.

(Received August 10 2009)

(Revised October 14 2009)

(Revised April 27 2010)

(Accepted April 30 2010)

(Online publication August 11 2010)


c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Juliana Onofre de Lira, Department of Speech Therapy, São Paulo Federal University, Euclides Pacheco St, 803/1310. São Paulo, SP, 03321-000, Brazil. Tel/fax: +55 11 3881-7705 Email: