Patterns of Neuropsychological Dysfunction and Cortical Volume Changes in Logopenic Aphasia

J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;66(3):1015-1025. doi: 10.3233/JAD-171175.


Background: Neuropsychological assessment can add essential information to the characterization of individuals presenting with the logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia (lvPPA).

Objective: This study examined the neuropsychological characteristics of lvPPA patients. We also examined differences in regional and whole brain atrophy based on neuropsychological profiles.

Methods: We conducted a hierarchical cluster analysis on memory, executive functioning, and visuospatial neuropsychological test data for 56 individuals with lvPPA. We then compared resultant clusters to left middle temporal, inferior parietal, and superior parietal regions-of-interest using multivariate analysis of covariance. We also performed voxel-level analyses.

Results: We identified three clusters characterized as lvPPA with no neurocognitive impairment (n = 5), lvPPA with mild neurocognitive deficits (n = 23), and lvPPA with marked cognitive deficits (n = 28). WAB-AQ was associated with left middle temporal volume. Superior parietal volumes were smaller for the lvPPA group with marked cognitive symptoms compared to the less severe groups. Voxel-level analyses showed greater atrophy in temporal, parietal, lateral occipital, and frontal regions, left worse than right. Age, disease duration, gender, WAB-AQ, and PiB-PET did not account for differences between groups.

Conclusions: LvPPA patients without cognitive deficits in other domains were relatively uncommon while 50% of our sample exhibited pronounced neurocognitive deficits outside the language domain. Pronounced cognitive deficits in lvPPA are associated with widespread atrophy, left worse than right. Our study underscores the importance of examining neuropsychological function in addition to language in patients with lvPPA.

Keywords: Logopenic aphasia; neuropsychological assessment; primary progressive aphasia; volumetric MRI; voxel-wise analyses.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aphasia, Primary Progressive / diagnostic imaging
  • Aphasia, Primary Progressive / psychology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Organ Size