It is a rare nervous system (neurological) syndrome that impairs language capabilities. Symptoms of primary progressive aphasia begin gradually, sometimes before age 65, and tend to worsen over time. People with primary progressive aphasia can become mute and may eventually lose the ability to understand written or spoken language. However, they may continue caring for themselves and participating in daily life activities for several years after the disorder’s onset, as the condition progresses slowly. Primary progressive aphasia is a type of frontotemporal degeneration, a cluster of related disorders that originate in the frontal or temporal lobes of the brain.
To diagnose primary progressive aphasia, your doctor will review your symptoms and order several tests. Because there is no specific test to diagnose primary progressive aphasia, your doctor will need to order tests to diagnose your condition and rule out other possible causes of your symptoms. Doctors may conduct a neurological examination as well as a speech-language evaluation and a neuro-psychological evaluation. Tests will be conducted to measure your speech, language comprehension and skills, recognition, naming of objects, recall and other factors.
There are no drugs that specifically treat primary progressive aphasia. Researchers continue to study potential medications to treat primary progressive aphasia. Experimental therapies may be available in upcoming years.
Blood tests: Doctors may order blood tests to check for infections, measure medication levels or test for other medical conditions. You may also have genetic tests to determine if you have genetic mutations associated with primary progressive aphasia or other neurological conditions.
Brain scans: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can help diagnose primary progressive aphasia, detect shrinking of certain areas of the brain and show which area of the brain may be affected. MRI scans can also detect strokes, tumors or other conditions that may affect brain function.