Cognitive archaeology: uses, methods, and results
Journal of Neurolinguistics, 22, (3), . (doi:10.1016/j.jneuroling.2008.07.006).
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The earliest stages of cognitive decline in cases of slowly progressive dementia are difficult to pinpoint, yet detection of the preclinical period of the illness is likely to be of significant importance to understanding
Alzheimer’s disease and other slowly progressive dementias at both clinical and biological levels. A number of authors have used retrospective analysis to describe preclinical linguistic decline in written texts and spoken language samples. This paper reviews the methods available for classifying and comparing such samples, and presents some exploratory analyses of historical texts derived from verbatim records of preclinical spoken activity. Change in the nature of the language used by Harold Wilson (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1964-970 and 1974-976) is quantified in the light of a later diagnosis of probable Alzheimer’s disease and historical uncertainties about his final months in office.
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