Memory Impairments Underlying Language Difficulties in Dementia

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An important defining feature of dementia is memory impairment, a progressive deficit that also affects patients' ability to use and comprehend language. In this article, the memory deficits associated with the dementia syndromes of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Lewy body disease are outlined and related to the language impairments that have been observed in patients with these disorders. Assessment techniques are described, including commonly used individual tests and test batteries that assess the memory and language of dementia patients. Based on the pattern of spared and impaired memory functions, specific strategies for facilitating language in dementia patients are proposed.

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