Therapy for naming deficits in two variants of primary progressive aphasia

Melissa Newhart, Cameron Davis, Vijay Kannan, Jennifer Heidler-Gary, Lauren Cloutman, Argye E. Hillis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) refers to a progressive and selective decline in language due to neurodegenerative disease. There are three variants of PPA, progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA), semantic dementia (SD), and logopaenic progressive aphasia (LPA). All variants include impaired object naming, but distinct underlying deficits might interfere with naming. Therefore, individuals with different types of PPA may respond differently to naming therapy. Aims: To identify differences in patterns of success and generalisation in response to the same treatment in patient with LPA and a patient with SD. Furthermore, we wished to identify whether the treatment effect was item specific (trained words) or generalised to untrained words in trained or untrained categories. Methods & Procedures: Participants included an individual with LPA and one with SD. An assessment of lexical processing was administered before and after a naming treatment to assess underlying deficits and generalisation effects. Therapy consisted of a cueing hierarchy treatment. Treatment items consisted of pictured objects in the categories of fruits/vegetables and clothing. Outcomes & Results: Two different patterns of performance were observed. The LPA participant improved in naming of treated items and untreated items in both treated and untreated categories. The participant with SD improved in naming treated items only, but showed less deterioration in untreated items in treated than untreated categories. Conclusions: Individuals with PPA can show improved naming (at least temporarily) with therapy, but generalisation to untrained items may depend on the underlying cause of the naming deficit, which may differ across subtypes. © 2009 Psychology Press.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)823-834
    Number of pages11
    Issue number7-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Dementia
    • Language deterioration
    • Primary progressive aphasia
    • Treatment of aphasia


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