Ideomotor apraxia in agrammatic and logopenic variants of primary progressive aphasia

J Neurol. 2013 Jun;260(6):1594-600. doi: 10.1007/s00415-013-6839-9. Epub 2013 Jan 29.


There are few studies examining praxis in subjects with primary progressive aphasia. The aim of this study was to examine the pattern and severity of ideomotor apraxia in subjects with logopenic and agrammatic variants of primary progressive aphasia and to determine if the presence of ideomotor apraxia correlated with specific neuroanatomical structural abnormalities. Subjects with primary progressive aphasia were prospectively recruited and classified according to published criteria. Using the apraxia subtest of the Western Aphasia Battery, pattern and severity of ideomotor apraxia was examined in all subjects diagnosed with agrammatic and logopenic variants of primary progressive aphasia. The study included 47 subjects, 21 diagnosed with agrammatic variant of primary progressive aphasia and 26 with logopenic variant primary progressive aphasia. Subjects with agrammatic aphasia were older at onset than the logopenic variant (67.2 vs. 61.7 years, p = 0.02), but there was no difference in illness duration prior to evaluation. Those with logopenic aphasia showed more cognitive impairment on the Mini-Mental Status Examination (agrammatic = 26.7/30, logopenic = 22/30, p = 0.002), and a trend for more severe language impairment as measured by the Western Aphasia Battery-Aphasia Quotient (agrammatic = 82.3, logopenic = 75.2, p = 0.11). Strong correlations were found between Western Aphasia Battery-Aphasia Quotient and total apraxia, instrumental apraxia, and complex apraxia, while average to modest correlations were seen with upper limb apraxia and facial apraxia. After adjusting for age, mental status performance, and Western Aphasia Battery-Aphasia Quotient score, those with agrammatic aphasia had a higher degree of total apraxia (p = 0.004), facial apraxia (p = 0.03), instrumental apraxia (p = 0.0006), and complex apraxia (p = 0.0006) than those with logopenic aphasia. The agrammatic variant of primary progressive aphasia was associated with greater praxis deficits but less cognitive impairment than the logopenic variant. The presence of ideomotor apraxia was associated with grey matter loss in the left lateral premotor cortex with extension into the motor cortex. These findings suggest that although some affected areas in the agrammatic and logopenic variants of primary progressive aphasia overlap, there exists an area that is more affected in the agrammatic variant than the logopenic variant that accounts for the greater association of agrammatic aphasia with ideomotor apraxia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aphasia, Primary Progressive / complications*
  • Aphasia, Primary Progressive / pathology*
  • Apraxia, Ideomotor / complications*
  • Apraxia, Ideomotor / pathology*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests