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Linguistic Ability in Early Life and Alzheimer Disease in Late Life

Linguistic Ability in Early Life and Alzheimer Disease in Late Life To the Editor. —I read with great interest the article by Dr Snowdon and colleagues.1 They found that nuns whose autobiographies had high idea density and grammatical complexity when they were young were less likely to develop Alzheimer disease in later years. However, the analysis of writing samples appears to have a potentially important omission. Of the 2 detailed samples of writing provided, that of sister A who developed Alzheimer disease and that of sister B who had not developed Alzheimer disease at 80 years of age (published in their entirety in the New York Times2), sister A's writing contains no expressions of emotion and sister B's writing contains 5 direct expressions of emotion and 2 metaphorical expressions of strong feeling. It is possible that it is not merely cognitive complexity of thought at a young age that correlates with later health, but that having the ability to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png JAMA American Medical Association

Linguistic Ability in Early Life and Alzheimer Disease in Late Life

JAMA , Volume 275 (24) – Jun 26, 1996

Linguistic Ability in Early Life and Alzheimer Disease in Late Life

Abstract



To the Editor.
—I read with great interest the article by Dr Snowdon and colleagues.1 They found that nuns whose autobiographies had high idea density and grammatical complexity when they were young were less likely to develop Alzheimer disease in later years. However, the analysis of writing samples appears to have a potentially important omission. Of the 2 detailed samples of writing provided, that of sister A who developed Alzheimer disease and that of sister B who had not...
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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1996 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.
ISSN
0098-7484
eISSN
1538-3598
DOI
10.1001/jama.1996.03530480021019
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

To the Editor. —I read with great interest the article by Dr Snowdon and colleagues.1 They found that nuns whose autobiographies had high idea density and grammatical complexity when they were young were less likely to develop Alzheimer disease in later years. However, the analysis of writing samples appears to have a potentially important omission. Of the 2 detailed samples of writing provided, that of sister A who developed Alzheimer disease and that of sister B who had not developed Alzheimer disease at 80 years of age (published in their entirety in the New York Times2), sister A's writing contains no expressions of emotion and sister B's writing contains 5 direct expressions of emotion and 2 metaphorical expressions of strong feeling. It is possible that it is not merely cognitive complexity of thought at a young age that correlates with later health, but that having the ability to

Journal

JAMAAmerican Medical Association

Published: Jun 26, 1996

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