Five diseases that attack the language areas of the brain

summary: The study identified five different neurological disorders that attack the brain’s language network, resulting in primary progressive aphasia.

source: Northwestern University

There are five different diseases that attack language areas in the left hemisphere of the brain that slowly cause progressive impairment of language known as primary progressive aphasia (PPA), according to a new study in Northwestern Medicine.

Lead author Dr. M. “We’ve found that each of these diseases affects a different part of the language network,” said Marcel Mesulam, MD, director of the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease at Northwestern.

“In some cases, the disease affects the region responsible for grammar, in others the region responsible for understanding words. Each disease develops at a different rate and has different implications for the intervention.”

This study is based on the largest set of PPA autopsies – 118 cases – ever compiled.

It will be published on April 20 in the magazine brain.

“Patients were followed for more than 25 years, so this is the most comprehensive study to date on life expectancy, type of language impairment, and relationship of disease to details of language impairment,” said Mesulam, chair of Northwestern’s Division of Behavioral Neuroscience. Feinberg University School of Medicine.

Patients with PPA were prospectively enrolled in a longitudinal study that included language testing and imaging of brain structure and function. The study involved consent to donate brain upon death.

An estimated 1 in 100,000 people have PPA, Mesulam said.

The initial symptoms of PPA can be subtle and are sometimes attributed to anxiety or throat problems. Even specialists may fail to make a timely diagnosis.

In 40% of cases of PPA, the underlying disease is an unusual form of Alzheimer’s disease. It is unusual because it impairs language rather than memory, and because it can start much earlier when a person is under 65.

In 60% of cases, the diseases causing PPA belong to a completely different group of conditions called frontotemporal lobe degeneration (FTLD). Although most people have not heard of this, cases of frontotemporal lobe degeneration are responsible for about 50% of all types of dementia that begin before the age of 65. An accurate diagnosis can now be reached using new imaging and biochemical methods.

Once the underlying disease has been diagnosed, there are many different approaches to the disease (medication) and symptom level.

“The trick is to approach the PPA on both levels simultaneously,” Mesulam said.

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If Alzheimer’s disease is the cause, the patient can be treated with medication and directed to clinical trials. At the symptomatic level, an individual who has difficulty with grammar and finding words can receive targeted speech therapy.

This indicates the outline of the head
Patients with PPA were prospectively enrolled in a longitudinal study that included language testing and imaging of brain structure and function. The image is in the public domain

People with an understanding of words will receive a different type of speech therapy or possibly transcranial magnetic stimulation, which appears to work best for this specific deficiency. Anxiety about finding words can be treated with anti-anxiety medications and behavioral therapy.

The next step in research is to improve diagnostic accuracy with new biomarkers in order to determine whether the cause of a patient’s PPA is Alzheimer’s disease or FTLD.

Northwestern University scientists also want to find appropriate drug treatments for each of the underlying diseases and individualized interventions for PPA. Another goal is to design episodic non-pharmacological interventions based on the nature of language impairment.

Other Northwestern authors include Christina Coventry, Elaine Biggio, Jaisher Sridhar, Nathan Gill, Howie Chang, Cynthia Thompson, Changis Giulla, Tamar Geffen, Margaret Flanagan, Sandra Weintraub, and Emily Rogalsky.

About this search for Habsa news

author: Marla Paul
source: Northwestern University
Contact: Marla Paul – Northwestern University
picture: The image is in the public domain

original search: The results will appear in brain

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