Skip navigation

Syntactic processing as a marker for cognitive impairment in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Syntactic processing as a marker for cognitive impairment in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Tsermentseli, Stella (2015) Syntactic processing as a marker for cognitive impairment in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration. ISSN 2167-8421 (Print), 2167-9223 (Online) (doi:

PDF (Publisher's Version (Open Access))
14027_TSERMENTSELI_Syntactic_Processing_2015.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (475kB)


Despite recent interest in cognitive changes in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), investigations of language function looking at the level of word, sentence and discourse processing are relatively scarce. Data were obtained from 26 patients with sporadic ALS and 26 healthy controls matched for age, education, gender, anxiety, depression and executive function performance. Standardized language tasks included confrontation naming, semantic access, and syntactic comprehension. Quantitative production analysis (QPA) was used to analyse connected speech samples of the Cookie Theft picture description task. Results showed that the ALS patients were impaired on standardized measures of grammatical comprehension and action/verb semantics. At the level of discourse, ALS patients were impaired on measures of syntactic complexity and fluency; however, the latter could be better explained by disease related factors. Discriminant analysis revealed that syntactic measures differentiated ALS patients from controls. In conclusion, patients with ALS exhibit deficits in receptive and expressive language on tasks of comprehension and connected speech production, respectively. Our findings suggest that syntactic processing deficits seem to be the predominant feature of language impairment in ALS and that these deficits can be detected by relatively simple language tests.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons. org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cognition; language; speech; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Last Modified: 15 May 2019 10:52
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: GREAT a
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: GREAT 1
Selected for REF2021: None

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics