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The lack of standardized instruments to evaluate communication disorders related to the right hemisphere was verified. A new evaluation tool was developed: Protocole Montréal d'Évaluation de la Communication – Protocole MEC, adapted to Brazilian Portuguese – Bateria Montreal de Avaliação da Comunicação – Bateria MAC (Montreal Evaluation of Communication Battery). The purpose was to present stratified normative data by age and educational level, and to verify the reliability parameters of the MEC Battery. 300 individuals, between the ages of 19 and 75 years, and levels of formal education between 2 and 35 years, participated in this study. They were divided equally into six normative groups, according to three age categories (young adults, intermediary age, and seniors) and two educational levels (low and high). Two procedures were used to check reliability: Cronbach alpha and reliability between evaluators. Results were established at the 10th percentile, and an alert point per task for each normative group. Cronbach's alpha was, in general, between .70 and .90 and the average rate of agreement between evaluators varied from .62 to .94. Standards of age and education were established. The reliability of this instrument was verified. The psychometric legitimization of the MEC Battery will contribute to the diagnostic process for communicative disorders.
Communication abilities are known to decline with age. In daily life, such abilities are frequently of the non-literal type, which require more cognitive resources to be processed. Since these resources tend to diminish with age, this study seeks to identify a possible effect of age on non-literal language abilities. Forty young and 40 older adults of two different education levels were compared on their non-literal and literal language abilities. Results suggest that age does not affect the processing of non-literal language but could affect some preliminary components of the task, thought to require more cognitive resources. This study does not provide direct evidence to suggest that elderly participants experience specific difficulties in processing non-literal language.
This study was designed to examine the patterns of
apraxic disturbances and the relationships between action
knowledge and other measures of semantic knowledge about
objects in 10 well-characterized Alzheimer's disease
(AD) patients. Five tasks were used to assess components
of action knowledge (action–tool relationships, pantomime
recognition, and sequential organization of action) and
praxis execution (actual use, pantomiming) according to
the cognitive model of praxis. Three tasks (verbal comprehension,
naming, and a visual semantic matching task) were used
to assess verbal–visual semantics. Considering patterns
of apraxia first, conceptual apraxia was found in 9 out
of the 10 AD patients, suggesting that it is a common feature
even in the early stages of AD. Second, we found partly
parallel deficits in tests of action-semantic and verbal–visual
semantic knowledge in 9 AD patients. Impaired action knowledge
was found only in patients with a semantic language deficit.
These findings provide no evidence that “action semantics”
may be separated from other semantic information. Our results
support the view of a unitary semantic system, given that
the representations of action-semantic and other semantic
knowledge of objects are often simultaneously disrupted
in AD. (JINS, 2000, 6, 693–703.)
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