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Neurologia. 2013 Jul-Aug;28(6):325-31. doi: 10.1016/j.nrl.2012.07.012. Epub 2012 Oct 6.

Oral reading fluency analysis in patients with Alzheimer disease and asymptomatic control subjects.

[Article in English, Spanish]

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  • 1Departamento de Psicología Básica y Metodología, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de Murcia, Murcia, España.



Many studies highlight that an impaired ability to communicate is one of the key clinical features of Alzheimer disease (AD).


To study temporal organisation of speech in an oral reading task in patients with AD and in matched healthy controls using a semi-automatic method, and evaluate that method's ability to discriminate between the 2 groups.


A test with an oral reading task was administered to 70 subjects, comprising 35 AD patients and 35 controls. Before speech samples were recorded, participants completed a battery of neuropsychological tests. There were no differences between groups with regard to age, sex, or educational level.


All of the study variables showed impairment in the AD group. According to the results, AD patients' oral reading was marked by reduced speech and articulation rates, low effectiveness of phonation time, and increases in the number and proportion of pauses. Signal processing algorithms applied to reading fluency recordings were shown to be capable of differentiating between AD patients and controls with an accuracy of 80% (specificity 74.2%, sensitivity 77.1%) based on speech rate.


Analysis of oral reading fluency may be useful as a tool for the objective study and quantification of speech deficits in AD.

Copyright © 2012 Sociedad Española de Neurología. Published by Elsevier Espana. All rights reserved.


Alzheimer disease; Articulation rate; Enfermedad de Alzheimer; Fluencia; Fluency; Habla; Lectura; Oral reading; Speech; Speech rate; Velocidad de articulación; Velocidad de elocución

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