[Routine clinical diagnosis of primary progressive non-fluent aphasia]

B Croisile, J-L Astier, C Beaumont
Revue Neurologique 2003, 159 (11): 1009-15
It may be difficult to distinguish between a primary progressive aphasia at a very mild stage from the beginning of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, this may be achieved by carrying out simple neuro-psychological tests. Nine non-fluent PPA (NFPPA) and 76 AD patients with comparable MMSE as well as 58 control subjects were evaluated using simple tests: MMSE, fluency, apraxia, naming, digital span, story memory, 5 words memory test. NFPPA patients had significantly impaired functions during the semantic category fluency and naming tests as compared to AD patients, whereas they showed a better delayed recall of the 5 words and story memory tests. As compared to AD, MMSE of NFPPA patients was also better in the time orientation and word recall sub-tests, although inferior in words repetition and language items. Thus, with comparable MMSE, NFPPA patients have more lexico-semantic difficulties, but a better delayed verbal memory than AD patients. These simple tests easily confirm the language impairment of NFPPA patients as opposed to the mnestic difficulties of AD, even at very early stages of these pathologies.

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