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Rambling may be an early indicator of dementia, says study

February 21, 2017

A new study has discovered that rambling speech could be an early indicator of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia.

The research, conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital, looked at 24 healthy people and 22 sufferers of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who were asked to create a sentence out of three words.

They found that those suffering from MCI were “very long winded” in creating their sentences.

“One significant difference is the mean length of utterance, how many words MCI subjects used versus healthy older – it was a very significant difference,” said lead researcher Dr Janet Cohen Sherman.

“MCIs almost tended to get lost along the way and had more difficulty connecting the three words and also difficulty remembering the three words.

“The healthy older individuals could give us a very concise sentence with the three words, and so could the healthy young, but individuals with mild cognitive impairment struggled.”

The researchers said it was important to monitor how a person’s speech patterns alter over time.

For example, a life-long rambler would be at a lesser risk compared to someone who started at a later age.

Dr Sherman said her team would develop the test for us in medical practice within the next five years.

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