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Automated analysis of propositional idea density in older adults

Hill, E ORCID: 0000-0002-7587-9051, Alty, J ORCID: 0000-0002-5456-8676, Bartlett, L ORCID: 0000-0003-0474-8107, Goldberg, L ORCID: 0000-0002-8217-317X, Park, M ORCID: 0000-0003-0175-8692, Yeom, S ORCID: 0000-0002-5843-101X and Vickers, J ORCID: 0000-0001-5671-4879 2021 , 'Automated analysis of propositional idea density in older adults' , Cortex, vol. 145 , pp. 264-272 , doi:

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Previous research suggests oral and written language can act as barometers of an individual's cognitive function, potentially providing a screening tool for the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other forms of dementia. Idea density is a measure of the rate at which ideas, or elementary predications, are expressed and may provide an ideal measure for early detection of deficits in language. Previous research has shown that when no restrictions are set on the topic of the idea, a decrease in propositional idea density (PID) is associated with an increased risk of developing AD. However, this has been limited by moderate sample sizes and manual transcribing. Technological advancement has enabled the automated calculation of PID from tools such as the Computerized Propositional Idea Density Rater (CPIDR). We delivered an online autobiographical writing task to older adult Australians from ISLAND (Island Study Linking Ageing and Neurodegenerative Disease). Linear regression models were fitted in R. We analysed text files (range 10-1180 words) using CPIDRv5 provided by 3316 (n = 853 males [25.7%], n = 2463 females [74.3%]) ISLAND participants. Over 358,957 words written in 3316 written autobiographical responses were analysed. Mean PID was higher in females (53.5 [+-3.69]) than males (52.6 [+-4.50]). Both advancing age and being male were significantly associated with a decrease in PID (p < .001). Automated methods of language analysis hold great promise for the early detection of subtle deficits in language capacity. Although our effect sizes were small, PID may be a sensitive measure of deficits in language in ageing individuals and is able to be collected at scale using online methods of data capture.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Hill, E and Alty, J and Bartlett, L and Goldberg, L and Park, M and Yeom, S and Vickers, J
Keywords: Cognitive function. Dementia, Language, Propositional idea density
Journal or Publication Title: Cortex
Publisher: Masson
ISSN: 0010-9452
DOI / ID Number:
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Copyright 2021 The AuthorsLicensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

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