Primary progressive aphasia has a lot to do with it: Here’s what you need to know

When you think of progressive brain disorders that cause dementia, you usually think of memory problems. But sometimes language problems — also known as aphasia — are the first symptoms.

What is aphasia?

Aphasia is a language disorder due to brain injury. Strokes (when a blood clot blocks an artery and part of the brain dies) is the most common cause, although aphasia can also be caused by traumatic brain injury, brain tumors, encephalitis, and almost anything else that damages the brain, including disease. nervousness;

How do neurodegenerative diseases cause aphasia

Neurodegenerative diseases are disorders that slowly and inexorably destroy the brain. After ruling out a brain tumor with an MRI scan, you can usually tell when aphasia is from a neurodegenerative disease, rather than from a stroke or other cause, depending on its time course: Strokes occur within seconds to minutes. Encephalitis appears over hours to days. Neurodegenerative diseases cause symptoms over months to years.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease, but there are other types as well, such as frontotemporal lobe degeneration. Different neurodegenerative diseases damage different parts of the brain and cause different symptoms. When a neurodegenerative disease causes language problems first and foremost, it is called primary progressive aphasia.

How is primary progressive aphasia diagnosed?

Primary progressive aphasia is generally diagnosed by a cognitive behavioral neurologist and/or a neuropsychologist who specializes in late life disorders. The assessment should include an accurate history of any language and any other problems found; a neurological exam a pencil and paper test of thinking, memory and language; blood tests to rule out vitamin deficiencies, thyroid disorders, infections, and other medical problems; An MRI scan to look for strokes, tumors, and other abnormalities that can affect the structure of the brain.

General criteria for primary progressive aphasia include:

  • Difficulty with language is the most prominent clinical feature in the onset and early stages of neurodegenerative disease
  • These language problems are severe enough to disrupt daily functioning
  • Other disorders that can cause language problems have been researched and are not found.

There are three main types of primary progressive aphasia

Primary progressive aphasia is divided into different variants based on which aspect of the language is disrupted.

Alternative Logopenic Primary progressive aphasia causes difficulties in finding words. Individuals with this variant have difficulty finding everyday common words like table, chair, blue, knee, celery, And honesty. They know what these words mean.

semantic variable Primary progressive aphasia causes difficulty understanding the meaning of words. When given the word, individuals with this variable may not understand the meaning of a file Table or a chair is any color blueWhere do you find them? kneewhat or what celery Is it good for, and what honesty Means.

The non-absolute variant / agrammatic Primary progressive aphasia causes stressed, stunted speech in which individuals know what they want to say but cannot get the words out. When they can get the words out, their sentences often have incorrect grammar. Although they know what the individual words mean, they may have difficulty understanding a sentence with complex grammar, such as “the tiger ate the lion.”

There are different types of primary progressive aphasia due to different diseases

These primary variants of progressive aphasia are not diseases per se. They are symptoms of brain problems. Not sure what I mean? Consider three other symptoms: fever, headache, and chest pain. As you know, each of these symptoms may be caused by different underlying diseases.

The genetic type of primary progressive aphasia usually results from Alzheimer’s disease. Did that surprise you? What this means is that although Alzheimer’s disease usually begins with memory loss, in some individuals it may begin with trouble finding words. Memory problems usually start after a few years. (Why would we call it Alzheimer’s if it didn’t start with memory problems, because Alzheimer’s is defined by the pathology we see under a microscope when we examine brain tissue, not by its symptoms.)

The semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia usually results from degeneration of the frontotemporal lobe, specifically by accumulation of TDP-43. TDP-43 is an abnormal protein that builds up in brain cells and eventually kills them.

The free/agrammatic variant of primary progressive is usually also due to frontotemporal lobe degeneration, but this time it is more often due to tau pathology. The accumulation of tau causes intracellular tangles that damage and then destroy them.

Can primary progressive aphasia be treated?

Treatments available for primary progressive aphasia are generally strategies and systems to help individuals with these disorders communicate better.

  • Thinking about the information about the word they’re looking for can sometimes help individuals with lupus benick’s primary variable primary progressive aphasia. For example, if they are searching for the word LionI’m thinking of yellow, africa, big cat, mane, And similar words may help.
  • Using your tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language can be helpful in communicating with individuals with semantic variable PPA, as well as getting the message you’re trying to get across.
  • Using images, either on paper or in a tablet-based application, can be beneficial for individuals with all types of primary progressive aphasia.

Unfortunately, there are no treatments for primary progressive aphasia, and no medications have been shown to be effective. Most patients with primary progressive aphasia develop other cognitive problems over time, leading to generalized dementia.

If you suspect that you (or a loved one) may have primary progressive aphasia, start by seeing your doctor. If your doctor is concerned, they will send you (or loved ones) to the appropriate specialist.

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