An Interactional Profile to Assist the Differential Diagnosis of Neurodegenerative and Functional Memory Disorders

Abstract

Objective: Specialist services for dementia are seeing an increasing number of patients. We investigated whether interactional and linguistic features in the communication behaviour of patients with memory problems could help distinguish between those with problems secondary to neurological disorders (ND) and those with Functional Memory Disorder (FMD).

Methods: In Part 1 of this study, a Diagnostic Scoring Aid (DSA) was developed encouraging linguists to provide quantitative ratings for 14 interactional features. An optimal cut-off differentiating ND and FMD was established by applying the DSA to 30 initial patient–doctor memory clinic encounters. In Part 2, the DSA was tested prospectively in ten additional cases analysed independently by two Conversation Analysts blinded to medical information.

Results: In part one, the median score of the DSA was +5 in ND and -5 in FMD (p<0.001). The optimal numeric DSA cut off (+1) identified patients with ND with a sensitivity of 86.7% and a specificity of 100%. In part two, DSA scores of rater one correctly predicted 10/10 and those of rater two 9/10 diagnoses.

Conclusions This study indicates that interactional and linguistic features can help distinguish between patients developing dementia and those with FMD and could aid the stratification of patients with memory problems.

Description

The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.

Keywords

dementia, screening, functional memory disorder

Citation

REUBER, M., BLACKBURN, D. J., ELSEY, C., WAKEFIELD, S., ARDERN, K. A., HARKNESS, K., VENNERI, A., JONES, D., SHAW, C. and DREW, P. (2018) An Interactional Profile to Assist the Differential Diagnosis of Neurodegenerative and Functional Memory Disorders. Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders, 32 (3), pp. 197-206

Rights

Research Institute

Institute for Allied Health Sciences Research