Dysexecutive Symptoms in Primary Progressive Aphasia: Beyond Diagnostic Criteria

J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2017 May;30(3):151-161. doi: 10.1177/0891988717700507. Epub 2017 Mar 30.


Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a heterogeneous neurodegenerative condition in which the most prominent clinical feature is language difficulties. Other cognitive domains have been described to remain unaffected at the early stages of the disease and, therefore, excluded from diagnostic criteria. However, we show in this article that executive function (EF) disorders may be present in the 3 variants (nonfluent/agrammatic, logopenic, and semantic) of PPA. We also illustrate changes in language and EF by means of a 3-year behavioral and neuroimaging longitudinal study of a patient suffering from the semantic variant of PPA. This review provides an update on current knowledge of PPA, suggesting that dysexecutive symptoms may be encountered in the 3 PPA variants, in their early phases and/or in more advanced stages, when atrophy extends to adjacent brain areas.

Keywords: assessment; executive functions; language impairment; primary progressive aphasia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aphasia, Primary Progressive / diagnosis*
  • Aphasia, Primary Progressive / pathology
  • Aphasia, Primary Progressive / physiopathology
  • Aphasia, Primary Progressive / psychology*
  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Executive Function*
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroimaging
  • Semantics