Fitness Levels of Older Adults Linked to Word-Finding Lapses One more reason to stay in shape: A study published in Scientific Reports found that the aerobic fitness levels of older adults directly related to the incidence of age-related language failures. In the study, from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom (UK), researchers compared 28 healthy older adults ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   July 01, 2018
Fitness Levels of Older Adults Linked to Word-Finding Lapses
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Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   July 01, 2018
Fitness Levels of Older Adults Linked to Word-Finding Lapses
The ASHA Leader, July 2018, Vol. 23, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.23072018.12
The ASHA Leader, July 2018, Vol. 23, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.23072018.12
One more reason to stay in shape: A study published in Scientific Reports found that the aerobic fitness levels of older adults directly related to the incidence of age-related language failures.
In the study, from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom (UK), researchers compared 28 healthy older adults (20 women, average age 70, and eight men, average age 67) with 27 young adults (19 women, average age 23, and eight men, average age 22) in a “tip-of-the-tongue” (ToT) language test.
ToT is a phenomenon in which a person fails to retrieve the phonological form of a word, despite having the feeling that retriveal is imminent: The person knows the word, but can’t produce it while speaking.
Researchers asked participants to name famous people in the UK based on questions about them and also gave definitions of 20 “low-frequency” and 20 “easy” words and asked if participants knew the word. Participants then performed a static cycling test to measure their aerobic fitness levels.

Researchers noted a relationship between ToT and aerobic fitness over and above the influence of age and vocabulary size.

Findings indicated that the higher the older adults’ aerobic fitness level, the lower the probability of experiencing a ToT state. Additionally, researchers noted a relationship between ToT and aerobic fitness beyond the influence of age and vocabulary size.
“Accessing the sound forms of words is essential for successful and fluent language production, and its disruption has very noticeable negative consequences for older adults,” says lead author Katrien Segaert of the University of Birmingham’s School of Psychology.
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July 2018
Volume 23, Issue 7