The impact of phonological short-term memory impairment on verbal repetition in the logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia

Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. 2024 Jul;31(4):723-741. doi: 10.1080/13825585.2023.2249198. Epub 2023 Aug 24.

Abstract

The logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia (lvPPA) is characterized mainly by anomia, production of phonological errors, and impairment in repetition of sentences. The functional origin of these language impairments is mainly attributed to the breakdown of phonological short-term memory. The present study examined the effects of phonological short-term memory impairment on language processing in lvPPA. In two studies, 11 participants with lvPPA and 11 healthy control participants were presented with repetition tasks in which the type and length of stimuli and the mode of administration were manipulated. Study 1 aimed to examine the influence of length and lexicality (words vs. pseudowords) on immediate and delayed repetition, whereas Study 2 aimed to examine the influence of length, syntactic complexity (nominalized vs. pronominalized sentences), and serial position on immediate sentence repetition. Study 1 showed that participants' performance with lvPPA was impaired only on immediate repetition of five-syllable pseudowords and on delayed repetition of words and pseudowords. Study 2 showed that participants' performance with lvPPA was impaired in the repetition of nominalized sentences where a recency effect was observed. Repetition of pronominalized sentences was also impaired in the lvPPA group. This study provides additional support for arguments regarding phonological short-term memory as a cause of language impairment in lvPPA. Clinically, the results of the study suggest that instruments for assessing repetition ability in lvPPA should include not only lists of short or long nominalized sentences, but also delayed repetition of words and pseudowords and pronominalized sentences.

Keywords: Primary progressive aphasia; assessment; logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia; phonological short-term memory; verbal repetition.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aphasia, Primary Progressive* / complications
  • Aphasia, Primary Progressive* / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / etiology
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology
  • Memory, Short-Term* / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Phonetics