Assessing Neglect Dyslexia With Compound Words

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Objective: The neglect syndrome is frequently associated with neglect dyslexia (ND), which is characterized by omissions or misread initial letters of single words. ND is usually assessed with standardized reading texts in clinical settings. However, particularly in the chronic phase of ND, patients often report reading deficits in everyday situations but show (nearly) normal performances in test situations that are commonly well-structured. To date, sensitive and standardized tests to assess the severity and characteristics of ND are lacking, although reading is of high relevance for daily life and vocational settings. Method: Several studies found modulating effects of different word features on ND. We combined those features in a novel test to enhance test sensitivity in the assessment of ND. Low-frequency words of different length that contain residual pronounceable words when the initial letter strings are neglected were selected. We compared these words in a group of 12 ND-patients suffering from right-hemispheric first-ever stroke with word stimuli containing no existing residual words. Finally, we tested whether the serially presented words are more sensitive for the diagnosis of ND than text reading. Results: The severity of ND was modulated strongly by the ND-test words and error frequencies in single word reading of ND words were on average more than 10 times higher than in a standardized text reading test (19.8% vs. 1.8%). Conclusion: The novel ND-test maximizes the frequency of specific ND-errors and is therefore more sensitive for the assessment of ND than conventional text reading tasks.

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