Exploration of verbal repetition in people with dementia using an online symptom-tracking tool

Emily Reeve, Pierre Molin, Amaris Hui, Kenneth Rockwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Online tools can be used by people with dementia and their caregivers to self-identify and track troubling symptoms, such as verbal repetition. We aimed to explore verbal repetition behaviors in people with dementia. Methods: Participants were recruited via an online resource for people with dementia and their caregivers. Respondents were instructed to complete information about symptoms that are most important to them for tracking over time. In this cross-sectional study, we analyzed data pertaining to individuals with dementia who had at least three symptoms selected for tracking. Results: Of the 3,573 participants who began a user profile, 1,707 fulfilled criteria for analysis. Verbal repetition was identified as a treatment target in 807 respondents (47.3%). Verbal repetition was more frequent in individuals with mild dementia compared to those with moderate and severe dementia (57.2% vs. 36.0% and 39.9%, p < 0.01) and in those with Alzheimer's disease versus other dementias (65.2% vs. 29.7%, p < 0.001). Repetitive questioning was the most frequent type of verbal repetition (90.5% of individuals with verbal repetition). Verbal repetition was most strongly associated with difficulties operating gadgets/appliances (OR 3.65, 95%CI: 2.82-4.72), lack of interest and/or initiative (3.52: 2.84-4.36), misplacing or losing objects (3.25: 2.64-4.01), and lack of attention and/or concentration (2.62: 2.12-3.26). Conclusions: Verbal repetition is a common symptom in people at all stages of dementia but is most commonly targeted for monitoring and treatment effects in its mild stage. Much research is required to further elucidate the underlying mechanisms and the effect of different treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-966
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Psychogeriatrics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer disease
  • caregiver
  • dementia
  • Internet
  • verbal repetition

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