Study: Alzheimer's detected by speech changes

MADISON, Wis. - A new study out of UW-Madison suggests that changes to your speech may indicate you're developing thinking problems. More pauses, filler words and other verbal changes might be an early sign of mental decline, which can lead to Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers had people describe a picture they were shown in taped sessions two years apart. Those with early-stage mild cognitive impairment slid much faster on certain verbal skills than those who didn't develop thinking problems. It's more than the occasional "um" or trouble recalling names that plagues many people as they age.

If confirmed, the work suggests speech analysis might be a way to help screen people for very early signs of mental decline.

Results were discussed Monday at an Alzheimer's conference in London.

© 2017 Associated Press


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