Language assessment has a critical role in the clinical diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases, in particular, in the case of Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA). The current diagnostic criteria (Gorno-Tempini et al., 2011) identify three main variants on the basis of clinical features and patterns of brain atrophy. Widely accepted tools to diagnose, clinically classify, and follow up the heterogeneous language profiles of PPA are still lacking. In this study, we develop a screening battery, composed of nine tests (picture naming, word and sentence comprehension, word and sentence repetition, reading, semantic association, writing and picture description), following the recommendations of current diagnostic guidelines and taking into account recent research on the topic. All tasks were developed with consideration of the psycholinguistic factors that can affect performance, with the aim of achieving sensitivity to the language deficit to which each task was relevant, and to allow identification of the selective characteristic impairments of each PPA variant. Normative data on 134 Italian subjects pooled across homogeneous subgroups for age, sex, and education are reported. Although further work is still needed, this battery represents a first step towards a concise multilingual standard language examination, a fast and simple tool to help clinicians and researchers in the diagnosis of PPA.
- Journal Article