Language Across the Life Span: Clues Predicting Alzheimer's Disease

Sunday, February 19, 2017: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Room 312 (Hynes Convention Center)
Although there are well-known changes in memory associated with cognitive deterioration, such as in Alzheimer's disease, are there also changes in language? If so, can these changes be detected before diagnosis of dementia at early stages? This session presents evidence to address these questions from research on language acquisition, second language acquisition, healthy aging, and mild cognitive impairment. By looking at language across the life span and within these different populations, speakers address the relationship of language loss to language acquisition. The panelists approach these questions through both psycholinguistic and clinical research. Both first-language acquisition in the child and second-language acquisition in the adult are related to assessments of language in healthy young adults, healthy aging adults, and those with mild cognitive impairment. Panelists report on recent research findings documenting a "language prodrome" in the development of Alzheimer's disease, which contrasts with what is found in normal language acquisition and healthy aging. Speakers will also discuss the implications of these results for policymakers in the areas of dementia detection, care, and prevention, as well as for language policy and planning.
Barbara Lust, Cornell University
Suzanne Flynn, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jean Berko Gleason, Boston University
Janet Cohen Sherman, Massachusetts General Hospital
Is There a Language Prodrome for Alzheimer's Disease? A Clinical Perspective
Gita Martohardjono, City University of New York
Regression in Second Language Acquisition and Loss