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Neuropsicologia Latinoamericana

On-line version ISSN 2075-9479


BRANDAO, Lenisa. Discourse and cognition in two variants of frontotemporal dementia and in Alzheimer's disease. Neuropsicologia Latinoamericana [online]. 2010, vol.2, n.1, pp. 11-24. ISSN 2075-9479.

Discourse problems are among the main communication deficits of the population with fluent degenerative dementias. This fact demands concentrated effort in the area of Neuropsychology in understanding the nature of communication deficits and developing effective evaluations and interventions for this population. The goal of this article consists in the review of studies about the discourse patterns presented by persons with two subtypes of frontotemporal dementia (frontal variant - DFT - and semantic dementia - DS) and dementia of the Alzheimer's type (DTA). The article provides an historical introduction on discourse studies in dementia. Further, it presents the main cognitive features of the subtypes of dementia in focus. Finally, the relations between the discourse features and the cognitive and neurological damage in these dementia subtypes are discussed. Hypotheses about the main cognitive and neurological factors involved in the discourse deficits. It is inferred that in DTA, discourse deficits are caused by an episodic-executive disorder; in DFT, discourse deficits are caused by a pragmatic-executive disorder; and in DS, discourse deficits are caused by a lexical-semantic disorder.

Keywords : Discourse; Cognition; Frontotemporal dementia; Semantic memory; Alzheimer disease.

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