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Aging Ment Health. 2014;18(8):1037-45. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2014.908457. Epub 2014 May 6.

Verbal fluency, naming and verbal comprehension: three aspects of language as predictors of cognitive impairment.

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a Department of Medicine, Gerontology Research Group , Faculty of Health Sciences , University of A Coruña , A Coruña , Spain.



To establish the possible relationship among three components of language (verbal fluency, naming and comprehension) and cognitive impairment as well as to determine the usefulness of language assessment tests to predict or monitor the development of cognitive impairment.


A comparative, descriptive and cross-sectional study was performed on 82 subjects ≥ 65 years of age who were cognitively assessed with the Mini Mental State Examination and were divided into two groups: Group A comprised of subjects classified as levels 1, 2 and 3 on the Reisberg's Global Deterioration Scale (GDS) and group B comprised of subjects at levels 4 and 5 of the GDS. Language skills were assessed by the Verbal Fluency Test, Boston Naming Test and Token Test.


An inverse relationship between performance on language tests and cognitive impairment level was observed with a more pronounced effect observed on fluency and comprehension tests.


Language assessments, especially fluency and comprehension, were good indicators of cognitive impairment. The use of these assessments as predictors of the degree of cognitive impairment is discussed in-depth.


cognitive disorders; cognitive test; comprehension; language disorders; language test

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