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Dementia & Neuropsychologia

Print version ISSN 1980-5764

Dement. neuropsychol. vol.2 no.2 São Paulo Apr./June 2008 

Original Articles

Textual reading comprehension and naming in Alzheimer's disease patients

Leitura e compreensão textual nomeando pacientes com doença de Alzheimer

Juciclara Rinaldi 1  

Gabriela Sbardelloto 2  

Christian Haag Kristensen 3  

Maria Alice de Mattos Pimenta Parente 4  

1MSc in Psychology, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre RS, Brasil.

2BSc in Psychology, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre RS, Brasil.

3PhD, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul.

4PhD, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre RS, Brasil.


Among linguistic-cognitive failures, the retelling of stories and lexical disorders occur from the onset of AD. Recent studies have discussed whether lexical failures in AD patients include naming actions.


The aims of this study were to verify naming and reformulation of action difficulties in AD patients and their relationship with the retelling of stories. Our main questions were: Are there two linguistic abilities impaired in the early stages of AD? Is there some correlation between the capacity of naming actions and the retelling of stories?


We assessed 28 elderly participants: 17 with probable AD and 11 control subjects, with schooling ³4 years. The textual reading comprehension was measured using four stories with descriptive and narrative textual structure. The lexical production was verified by 17 actions on video, assessed by the participants' first and second verbal emissions.


The results showed that the retelling of stories is a task that discriminates patients with AD from healthy individuals. The naming and reformulation of actions tasks did not show significant differences among the patients and their controls. A positive correlation was found between the difficulties in retelling stories and the reformulation of the naming of actions.


These results confirm previous findings that show the preservation of naming actions in patients with AD, which involve familiar actions, and that the retelling of short stories is an instrument that discriminates patients with AD from healthy elders. Results also suggest that the difficulties in retelling are related a breakdown in reformulating information, perhaps stemming from mechanisms of decreased memory work.

Key words: Alzheimer's; textual comprehension; lexical production; memory; language


Entre as falhas lingüísticas, o reconto de histórias e os problemas lexicais ocorrem desde o início da DA. Estudos recentes têm discutido se as falhas lexicais nos pacientes com DA incluem a nomeação de ações.


Os objetivos deste estudo foram verificar as dificuldades de nomeação e reformulação de ações em pacientes com DA e sua relação com o reconto de histórias. As principais questões que nortearam esse estudo foram: As duas habilidades lingüísticas estão prejudicadas no início da DA? Há alguma correlação entre a capacidade de nomeação de ações e de reconto de histórias?


Foram avaliados 28 idosos: 17 com DAs prováveis e 11 sem demência, com escolaridade ³4 anos. A compreensão de leitura textual foi avaliada através de quatro histórias com estrutura textual descritiva e narrativa. A nomeação foi verificada por 17 ações em vídeo, tendo primeira e segunda emissão para cada participante.


Os resultados mostraram que o reconto de histórias é uma tarefa que discrimina pacientes com DA de idosos normais; já as tarefas de nomeação e de reformulação de ações não apresentaram diferenças significativas entre os pacientes e seus controles. Foi encontrada uma correlação positiva entre as dificuldades de reconto de histórias e a reformulação da nomeação de ações.


Esses resultados confirmam achados anteriores que mostram a preservação da nomeação de ações em pacientes com DA, nas ações familiares e que o reconto de histórias curtas é um instrumento que discrimina pacientes com DA de idosos normais. Também sugerem que as dificuldades de reconto estão relacionadas a falhas de reformulação de informações, talvez oriundas de mecanismos de memória de trabalho diminuída.

Palavras-chave: Alzheimer; compreensão textual; produção lexical; memória; linguagem

Texto completo disponível apenas em PDF.

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Received: February 20, 2008; Accepted: April 22, 2008

Christian Haag Kristensen - Programa de Pós-Graduação em Psicologia / Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul - Av. Ipiranga, 6681 / Prédio 11 / Sala 936 - 90619-900 Porto Alegre RS - Brasil. E-mail:

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