Progressive language disorder due to lobar atrophy

Ann Neurol. 1992 Feb;31(2):174-83. doi: 10.1002/ana.410310208.


Sixteen patients with progressive language disorder have been studied longitudinally. Anomia was a prominent presenting characteristic and mutism ultimately occurred. Patients, however, were clinically heterogeneous. Some exhibited nonfluent, agrammatic features, whereas others demonstrated a fluent aphasia, with profound loss of word meaning. Although language disorder remained the sole symptom in a minority of patients, in others an associative agnosia or personality and behavioral changes, or both, emerged. Findings on computed tomography and single photon emission tomography mirrored the areas of dysfunction suggested by the neuropsychological profiles and demonstrated abnormalities restricted to the left hemisphere or involving bilateral frontotemporal cortices. Brains of 3 patients, with distinctive clinical pictures, have been examined at autopsy. Each revealed a focal distribution of atrophy, gliosis and spongiform change, and an absence of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. There was clinical and pathological overlap with frontal lobe dementia. We argue that progressive language disorder is clinically heterogeneous and forms part of a spectrum of clinical presentations of non-Alzheimer lobar atrophy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Agnosia / diagnostic imaging
  • Agnosia / pathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Anomia / diagnostic imaging
  • Anomia / pathology
  • Aphasia, Wernicke / diagnostic imaging
  • Aphasia, Wernicke / pathology
  • Atrophy
  • Dementia / pathology
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Frontal Lobe / pathology*
  • Gliosis
  • Humans
  • Language Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Language Disorders / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Temporal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon