Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Elaine Frank

Abstract

This study utilized a pre-existing database consisting of data from control subjects as well as people with a diagnosis of Huntington's disease (HD). Participants were administered a battery of tests including the word generation test (FAS), and the supermarket portion of the Dementia Rating Scale (DRS) which assesses category fluency.

Participant's scores were analyzed on both the FAS and DRS to assess what relationship exists between the two tests. The FAS and supermarket portion of the DRS were found to have statistically significant (p<.01) positive correlations for all GDS levels. The highest Pearson correlation coefficient was found for the GDS group 4-5.

Also of note the scores on both the FAS task and the supermarket portion of the DRS appear to decrease as overall GDS severity increases. This correlation indicates that although a general decline in these two cognitive abilities exists as seen in the significant decrement in FAS scores across GDS groups there is still a common cognitive factor apparent in these two tasks.

Factors such as age, education level, and depression level were also included in the study and their predictive power on the outcomes of the two generative naming tasks was analyzed. Participants were grouped by Global Deterioration Scale (GDS) scores 1(control), 2-3(mild cognitive decline), and 4-5 (moderate-severe cognitive decline). Education, age, and depression level were seen to have a statistically significant impact on the FAS task in the control group; however, in the moderate-severe cognitive decline grouping only education proved to be a statistically significant predictor of outcomes on the FAS, and in the mild cognitive decline grouping none of these factors have predictive power on the score.

On the supermarket portion of the DRS, education was the only variable that was a statistically significant predictor for the mild and moderate-severe groups, and no variables were found to predict the outcome on this task for the control group. These results could be affected by the upper limit cap of 20 items on the supermarket subtest of the DRS.

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