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Brain Lang. 2005 Jul;94(1):54-60. Epub 2005 Jan 7.

Fluent versus nonfluent primary progressive aphasia: a comparison of clinical and functional neuroimaging features.

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David Geffen School of Medicine, Department of Neurology, University of California-Los Angeles, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., 3-South Neurobehavior Unit (116AF), Los Angeles, CA 90073, USA.


To better characterize fluent and nonfluent variants of primary progressive aphasia (PPA). Although investigators have recognized both fluent and nonfluent patients with PPA, the clinical and neuroimaging features of these variants have not been fully defined. We present clinical and neuropsychological data on 47 PPA patients comparing the fluent (n=21) and nonfluent (n=26) subjects. We further compared language features with PET/SPECT data available on 39 of these patients. Compared to the nonfluent PPA patients, those with fluent PPA had greater impairment of confrontational naming and loss of single word comprehension. They also exhibited semantic paraphasic errors and loss of single word comprehension. Patients with nonfluent PPA were more likely to be female, were more often dysarthric, and exhibited phonological speech errors in the absence of semantic errors. No significant differences were seen with regard to left hemisphere abnormalities, suggesting that both variants result from mechanisms that overlap frontal, temporal, and parietal regions. Of the language measures, only semantic paraphasias were strongly localized, in this case to the left temporal lobe. Fluent and nonfluent forms of PPA are clinically distinguishable by letter fluency, single word comprehension, object naming, and types of paraphasic errors. Nevertheless, there is a large amount of overlap between dysfunctional anatomic regions associated with these syndromes.

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