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Communication Difficulty and Relevant Interventions in Mild Cognitive Impairment: Implications for Neuroplasticity

Johnson, Melissa MA, CCC-SLP; Lin, Feng PhD, RN

Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation: January/March 2014 - Volume 30 - Issue 1 - p 18–34
doi: 10.1097/TGR.0000000000000001

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) represents a critical point for controlling cognitive decline. Patterns of communication difficulty have been observed in patients with MCI and warrant examination and management. This systematic review examined (1) characteristics of communication difficulty in MCI by focusing on 2 domains, expressive and receptive communication, and (2) cognitive interventions that addressed communication difficulties in individuals with MCI. Of the 28 observational studies reviewed, expressive and receptive communications were generally impaired in individuals with MCI compared with their healthy counterparts. However, only 1 of the 7 interventions effectively improved communication-related outcomes. We summarize the article with a discussion about how neuroplasticity influences communication abilities in individuals with MCI to inform the future development of interventions for communication difficulty.

School of Nursing (Ms Johnson and Dr Lin) and Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Dentistry (Dr Lin), University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.

Correspondence: Feng Lin, PhD, RN, School of Nursing and Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester Medical Center, 601 Elmwood Ave, HWH 2w128, Rochester, NY 14642 (

The development of this article was supported by the University of Rochester CTSA award no. KL2 TR000095 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health to Dr Lin. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

© 2014Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins