Vol. 2 nº 1 - Jan/Feb/Mar de 2008
Original Article Páginas: 31 a 36

Functional communication ability in frontotemporal lobar degeneration and Alzheimer's disease

Authors Isabel Albuquerque M. de Carvalho1, Valéria Santoro Bahia2, Leticia Lessa Mansur3


keywords: communication, functional, language, assessment, dementia.

Functional communication is crucial for independent and efficient communicative behavior in response to every day activities. In the course of dementia progression, cognitive losses may impair these abilities. For this reason, functional communication assessment should be part of a formal assessment to quantify and qualify the impact of deficiency on patients' lives. Objective: To compare functional communication abilities in fronto-temporal lobar degeneration (FLTD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Methods: Six AD patients (mean age: 82.50±2.66 years; mean education: 5.67±3.61 years), and eight FTLD patients (mean age: 57.13±9.63 years; mean education: 10.86±6.91 years) had their close relatives answer the Functional Assessment of Communication Skills for Adults (Asha-facs) . Statistical analyses correlated the performance on each of the Asha-facs domains (social communication, communication of basic needs; reading, writing, number concept and daily planning) between both groups. Results: Analyses showed that functional communication was similar for AD and FTLD patients. Only two items had statistical difference, namely 'Comprehension of inference' (AD 6.7±1.33; FTLD 2.43±2.30, p=0.017) and 'capacity to make basic money transactions' (AD 2.17±2.04; FTLD 4.00±0.90, p=0.044). Comparison among the four domains' mean scores revealed no significant difference. Conclusion: The Asha-facs is a useful instrument to characterize functional communication abilities in both FTLD and AD. Nevertheless, the analysis presented for this sample showed that the Asha-facs could not discriminate which aspects of the FTLD and AD differed.


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