Comparing longitudinal behavior changes in the primary progressive aphasias

Tim Van Langenhove*, Cristian E. Leyton, Olivier Piguet, John R. Hodges

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Differentiating between primary progressive aphasia (PPA) variants based on the profile of language deficits can be difficult in a proportion of patients. Further, little is presently know about the pattern of longitudinal changes in behavior in PPA variants. Objective: To determine the presence of behavioral changes in the main variants of PPA: semantic (sv-PPA), nonfluent/agrammatic (nfv-PPA), and logopenic (lv-PPA), and establish the course of these changes over time. Methods: We measured behavioral changes in 73 prospectively recruited PPA (30 sv-PPA, 22 nfv-PPA, and 21 lv-PPA), as well as 33 behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bv-FTD) and 31 Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients, at baseline and after 1 year, using the Cambridge Behavioural Inventory Revised. All included patients had mild dementia severity at baseline. Results: Both at baseline and follow-up, sv-PPA exhibited significantly more behavioral disturbances of the type characteristic of bv-FTD compared with other PPA variants. 74 of sv-PPA patients with mild dementia severity exhibited at least one behavior disturbance at baseline, which increased to 84 during follow-up. Behavioral symptoms did not differ between nfv-PPA and lv-PPA groups at baseline. At follow-up, however, empathy loss was significantly more pronounced in nfv-PPA. The prevalence and course of behavioral symptoms in lv-PPA was similar to that found in AD. Conclusions: sv-PPA show more prominent FTD-like behavioral disturbances compared with other PPA variants which typically emerge already early in the disease course. Empathy loss may be an important factor that helps differentiating nfv-PPA from lv-PPA. Our results may allow improved prediction of likely progression in behavioral symptoms across the PPA variants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1033-1042
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • behavioral symptoms
  • empathy
  • frontotemporal dementia
  • longitudinal studies
  • primary progressive aphasia


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