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Investigating language changes associated with mild cognitive impairment and dementia in elderly CALD bilinguals

Dr Amanda Miller Amberber, Prof Perminder Sachdev, A/Prof Lee-Fay Low, Dr Nicole Kochan, Prof Brian Draper
Research Centre DCRC Assessment and Better Care
Partner Institution Centre-based
Project Description

This project aims to identify critical language changes in the first and second language (English) associated with cognitive impairment and dementia in elderly CALD bilinguals. Impaired language and communication impact on the individual's independence, social interaction, and quality of life, and on carer stress and burden of care. Current knowledge of language changes associated with progressive cognitive impairment in bilinguals is scarce.

This project will test a cohort of 64 bilingual CALD individuals currently enrolled in the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study (MAS), through an opt-in study. Bilinguals will speak one of four target community languages (Hungarian, Italian, French, German) and English.

Testing on a language task battery will be conducted separately in each language at commencement and 12 months after initial testing. Performance in the first and second language will be compared across bilinguals without cognitive impairment, with mild cognitive impairment, and with cognitive impairment that has progressed to dementia. Individual results will be compared to performance on the Sydney MAS study, enabling correlations between language performance, neuropsychological, imaging and genetic testing.

The findings will improve knowledge of critical language changes in bilinguals with cognitive impairment and dementia and will contribute to enhanced early diagnosis and carer education.

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