Semantic variant primary progressive aphasia: practical recommendations for treatment from 20 years of behavioural research

Aida Suárez-González*, Sharon A. Savage, Nathalie Bier, Maya L. Henry, Regina Jokel, Lyndsey Nickels, Cathleen Taylor-Rubin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
93 Downloads (Pure)


People with semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA) present with a characteristic progressive breakdown of semantic knowledge. There are currently no pharmacological interventions to cure or slow svPPA, but promising behavioural approaches are increasingly reported. This article offers an overview of the last two decades of research into interventions to support language in people with svPPA including recommendations for clinical practice and future research based on the best available evidence. We offer a lay summary in English, Spanish and French for education and dissemination purposes. This paper discusses the implications of right-versus left-predominant atrophy in svPPA, which naming therapies offer the best outcomes and how to capitalise on preserved long-term memory systems. Current knowledge regarding the maintenance and generalisation of language therapy gains is described in detail along with the development of compensatory approaches and educational and support group programmes. It is concluded that there is evidence to support an integrative framework of treatment and care as best practice for svPPA. Such an approach should combine rehabilitation interventions addressing the language impairment, compensatory approaches to support activities of daily living and provision of education and support within the context of dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1552
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • semantic dementia
  • semantic variant primary progressive aphasia
  • word finding
  • frontotemporal dementia
  • language therapy
  • behavioural therapy


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