Verbal and visuospatial span in logopenic progressive aphasia and Alzheimer's disease

David G. Foxe, Muireann Irish, John R. Hodges, Olivier Piguet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Logopenic progressive aphasia (LPA) is a form of primary progressive aphasia (PPA) characterized by hesitant speech with marked impairment in naming and repetition. LPA is associated with brain atrophy in the left temporal and inferior parietal cortices and is predominantly associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology. In contrast to LPA, typical AD is commonly associated with episodic memory disturbance and bilateral medial temporal lobe atrophy. Recent evidence suggests verbal short-term memory is more impaired than visuospatial short-term memory in LPA. This study investigated verbal and visuospatial short-term memory in 12 LPA and 12 AD patients matched for disease severity, and in 12 age- and education-matched healthy controls. Overall, both patient groups showed significantly reduced verbal and visuospatial spans compared with controls. In addition, LPA patients performed significantly worse than AD patients on both forward and backward conditions of the Digit Span task. In contrast, no difference was present between patient groups on either version of the Spatial Span task. Importantly, LPA patients showed better visuospatial than verbal span whereas AD patients and controls did not differ across modality. This study demonstrates the specificity of the short-term memory disturbance in LPA, which arises from a breakdown of the phonological system. (JINS, 2012, 19, 1-7)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-253
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Keywords Short-term memory
  • Logopenia
  • Phonological
  • Primary progressive aphasia
  • Spatial
  • Working memory


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