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Neuropsychologia. 2009 Jul;47(8-9):1893-900. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.02.033. Epub 2009 Mar 9.

Reading disorders in primary progressive aphasia: a behavioral and neuroimaging study.

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1
Department of Neurology, UCSF, San Francisco, CA 94143-1207, United States.

Abstract

Previous neuropsychological studies on acquired dyslexia revealed a double dissociation in reading impairments. Patients with phonological dyslexia have selective difficulty in reading pseudo-words, while those with surface dyslexia misread exception words. This double dissociation in reading abilities has often been reported in brain-damaged patients, but it has not been consistently shown in patients with neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, we investigated reading impairments and their anatomical correlates in various neurodegenerative diseases. First, we performed a behavioral analysis to characterize the reading of different word types in primary progressive aphasia (PPA). Then, we conducted a voxel-based morphometry neuroimaging study to map the brain areas in which gray matter volume correlated with the accurate reading of exception and pseudo-words. The results showed a differential pattern of exception and pseudo-word reading abilities in different clinical variants of PPA. Patients with semantic dementia, a disorder characterized by selective loss of semantic memory, revealed a pattern of surface dyslexia, while patients with logopenic/phonological progressive aphasia, defined by phonological loop deficits, showed phonological dyslexia. Neuroimaging results showed that exception word reading accuracy correlated with gray matter volume in the left anterior temporal structures, including the temporal pole, the anterior superior and middle temporal and fusiform gyri, while pseudo-word reading accuracy correlated with left temporoparietal regions, including the posterior superior and middle temporal and fusiform gyri, and the inferior parietal lobule. These results suggest that exception and pseudo-word reading not only rely upon different language mechanisms selectively damaged in PPA, but also that these processes are sustained by separate brain structures.

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