ASHA journals
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Language and speech markers of PPA (Stalpaert et al., 2020)

journal contribution
posted on 2020-08-18, 21:41 authored by Jara Stalpaert, Elissa-Marie Cocquyt, Yana Criel, Lieselot Segers, Marijke Miatton, Tim Van Langenhove, Pieter van Mierlo, Miet De Letter
Purpose: This systematic review aimed to establish language and speech markers to support the clinical diagnosis of primary progressive aphasia (PPA) and its clinical phenotypes. Our first objective was to identify behavioral language and speech markers of early-stage PPA. Our second objective was to identify the electrophysiological correlates of the language and speech characteristics in PPA.
Method: The databases MEDLINE, Web of Science, and Embase were searched for relevant articles. To identify behavioral markers, the initial subjective complaints and the language and speech deficits detected during the initial diagnostic evaluation were summarized for PPA in general and each clinical variant according to the 2011 consensus diagnostic criteria (nonfluent variant [NFV], semantic variant, and logopenic variant [LV]). To identify electrophysiological markers, the studies in which event-related potentials (ERPs) were elicited by a language or speech paradigm in patients with PPA were included.
Results: In total, 114 relevant studies were identified, including 110 behavioral studies and only four electrophysiological studies. This review suggests that patients with the semantic variant could be accurately differentiated from the NFV and LV in the initial stages based on the consensus criteria. Nonetheless, the early differentiation between the NFV and LV is not straightforward. In the four electrophysiological studies, differences in the latency, amplitude, and topographical distribution of the semantic N400 component were found between patients with PPA and healthy controls.
Conclusions: To accurately differentiate the NFV from the LV, it could be important to assess the language and speech degeneration by more specific assessments and by more objective diagnostic methods that offer insights into the language-related processes. Electrophysiological markers of PPA were not identified in this review due to the low number of studies that investigated language-related ERPs. More controlled ERP studies in larger patient cohorts are needed to investigate the diagnostic applicability of language-related ERPs in PPA.

Supplemental Material S1. Search strategies.

Supplemental Material S2. Quality assessments and results.

Supplemental Material S3. Demographic characteristics.

Stalpaert, J., Cocquyt, E.-M., Criel, Y., Segers, L., Miatton, M., Van Langenhove, T., van Mierlo, P., & De Letter, M. (2020). Language and speech markers of primary progressive aphasia: A systematic review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.


This study was supported by the Research Foundation– Flanders (Jara Stalpaert).