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LSA Fellows 13 

Project titel: Development of motor-free language assessments to improve the diagnosis of language impairment in motor-disabled patients

Projectleader: Dr. Judith Wesenberg

 

Platzhalter

 

Language is one of our most important means of communication, which we use naturally in everyday life. If speech or language disorders occur, this can have a major impact on personal well-being and interpersonal relationships. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common adult-onset motor neuron disease where the progressive degeneration of motor neurons leads to muscle weakness and atrophy as well as speech disturbances. It also features cognitive and behavioural impairment, particularly executive dysfunction and language disturbances, the presence of which significantly reduces the patients’ survival rate. Accordingly, it is crucial to detect these deficits although valid neuropsychological assessment is interfered by the patients’ motor disability. The aim of this project is therefore to create a digital speech test battery requiring minimal motor efforts by the patients and allowing language to be assessed independently of motor impairment. For this purpose, existing language tests will be adapted in a way that different components of speech (e.g. semantics, grammar) can be assessed while making sure that even patients whose speech or writing motor skills are severely impaired can be examined for impairment in these components. This will be realized by recording the patient's answers with the help of a touchpad or digital stylus. The product developed here can then also be used for diagnosis of language dysfunction in other diseases (e.g., stroke, ataxia), where motor impairments can hinder the neuropsychological assessment.

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