Slowly progressive aphasia in three patients. The problem of accompanying neuropsychological deficit

K Poeck, C Luzzatti
Brain 1988, 111 ( Pt 1): 151-68
Three patients are described presenting with a slowly progressive aphasic disorder associated with degenerative cortical disease. The symptoms began in the presenium and the length of illness was 4 to 5 years. The language disorder corresponded in all patients to a severe form of amnesic aphasia but a moderate to marked semantic breakdown was also found. Formal language examination was complemented by extensive neuropsychological testing. This revealed a severe deficit in language-dependent cognitive tasks. The patients were given a follow-up language and neuropsychological examination. In addition to the deterioration of language functions, a significant decline was observed in nonverbal intelligence tasks even though their level of performance still remained within the normal range. Follow-up with standardized intelligence tests might detect a trend towards generalized dementia in similar cases. This would mean that these patients should be considered as presenting with slowly progressive aphasia preceding generalized dementia.

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