Primary progressive aphasia

Primary progressive aphasia was first described in 1982 and is the umbrella term for the language-variant frontotemporal dementias associated with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) 3.

Clinical presentation

It is an insidious disorder characterized by gradual impairment of speech and language that predates, usually by many years, the onset of more global cognitive deficits.


Primary progressive aphasia syndromes were originally classified as either fluent (semantic dementia) or non-fluent (progressive non-fluent aphasia). However, a third clinical entity (logopaenic dementia) has since been characterized, which actually represents an uncommon clinical variant of Alzheimer disease 1,2,4.

It is, therefore, important to note that this group is not only clinically heterogeneous but also is the result of a number of pathological processes, including in a minority of cases Alzheimer disease 1,4.  


The clinical subtypes of primary progressive aphasia include 2:

Inclusion criteria 2:

  • most prominent clinical feature is difficulty with language
  • these deficits are the principal cause of impaired daily living activities
  • aphasia should be the most prominent deficit at symptom onset and for the initial phases of the disease

Exclusion criteria 2:

  • pattern of deficit is better accounted for by other nondegenerative nervous system or other disorders
  • cogntive disturbance is better accounted for by a  psychiatric diagnosis
  • prominent initial episodic memory, visual memory, and visuoperceptual impairments
  • prominent, initial behavioral disturbance
Neurodegenerative diseases

Neurodegenerative diseases are legion and their classification just as protean. A useful approach is to divide them according to underlying pathological process, although even using this schema, there is much overlap and thus resulting confusion.

Article information

rID: 3968
Section: Syndromes
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Primary progressive aphasia
  • Primary progressive aphasia (PPA)
  • Language variant of frontotemporal lobar degeneration
  • Language variant of FTLD
  • PPA
  • Primary progressive aphasia - PPA
  • lvFTLD
  • Language variant of FTD
  • lvFTD
  • Language variant of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD)

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: Broca and Wernicke areas
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