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Aphasiology. 2015;29(9):1062-1081.

Prophylactic Treatments for Anomia in the Logopenic Variant of Primary Progressive Aphasia: Cross-Language Transfer.

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Center for Aphasia Research and Rehabilitation, Georgetown University Medical Center.
Eckmann Information Services and Language Consultancy.



Treatment studies for anomia in PPA have rarely compared multiple treatments in the same individual, and few anomia treatment studies have included participants with the logopenic variant of PPA (lvPPA).


The goals of this study were to evaluate two types of treatment for anomia in a bilingual participant (ND) with lvPPA, and to examine possible cross-language transfer of treatment effects.


ND is a Norwegian-English bilingual woman with lvPPA who began this study at the age of 69. In the phonological treatment, ND listened to a word while viewing a corresponding picture, and she repeated the word. In the orthographic treatment, ND read a word out loud while viewing the corresponding picture, and she then copied the word. Both treatments were conducted in English, and accuracy for three tasks (oral naming, written naming, and naming to definition) was assessed in English and Norwegian. The treatment occurred over a one-year period, with eight sessions at the laboratory during the first month, followed by monthly laboratory sessions and thrice-weekly home practice sessions during the subsequent 11 months. Post-treatment assessments were conducted at 1 week, 8 months, 1 year, 20 months, and 3 years.


Compared to untrained items, the orthographic treatment resulted in greater English written naming accuracy. This treatment also resulted in cross-language transfer: greater Norwegian oral naming and naming to definition accuracy. The phonological treatment resulted in marginally greater English oral naming accuracy, but it did not have a significant effect on naming accuracy in Norwegian.


These findings suggest that the orthographic treatment was effective in strengthening the orthographic representations of the treated items, which facilitated ND's written naming performance. The pattern of cross-language transfer suggests that the orthographic treatment also strengthened the language-independent semantic representations of the treated items, thereby facilitating access to their Norwegian phonological representations.


anomia; bilingualism; primary progressive aphasia; treatment

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