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Alzheimer's hand gestures and speech disorders in spoken and sung modalities

  • Caussade, Diane
  • Gaubert, Fanny
  • Seriux, Maud
  • Henrich Bernardoni, Nathalie
  • Vallée, Nathalie
  • Colletta, Jean-Marc
Publication Date
Jul 31, 2015
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In Alzheimer's disease (AD), studies on bimodal language production like that of Carlomagno et al. (2005) do not treat aspects of speech and hand gestures in a concomitant way. We propose an original protocol to evaluate the correlation between hand gestures and articulatory gestures in speech and singing of 4 persons diagnosed with AD by our hospital partner and paired with 4 control participants. Participants were asked to repeat 8 nursery rhymes created for this protocol: 4 nursery rhymes were spoken while the other 4 were sung. In each sung or spoken modality, 2 nursery rhymes were completed with four iconic and two deictic hand gestures. The protocol was completed with several clinical tests. Speech apraxia was evaluated by means of the MT86 clinical protocol (Joanette et al., 1998) and manual praxis by the Mahieux's battery (Mahieux-Laurent et al., 2009). The MBLF software was adapted to test the bucco-linguo-facial motor skills (Gatignol& Lannadère, 2011). Each participant was recorded at home using a camcorder and a lapel microphone. The speech productions were annotated and analyzed via Praat©, and the hand gestures via ELAN©. We did not evidence any manual or speech apraxia in our patient population. However, significant differences were observed on productions of hand gestures and speech between the patients and the control participants. Regarding patients, the movement, configuration and orientation of hand gestures were slightly altered. This alteration seemed to depend on the gesture value but not on the modality (speech or singing). The requirement to produce specific hand gestures affected speech production: patients produced more errors with connected hand gestures. Speech productions were influenced at different degrees by spoken and sung modalities. Patients made more errors in singing, and the more with connected hand gestures, showing a double task effect likely due to an attention deficiency typical of AD (Siéroff & Piquard, 2004).

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