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Research Letter
December 2014

Association Between the Prevalence of Learning Disabilities and Primary Progressive Aphasia

Author Affiliations
  • 1Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2Department of Preventative Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
  • 3Department of Pathology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
  • 4Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
  • 5Department of Neurology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA Neurol. 2014;71(12):1576-1577. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.2805

Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a syndrome that arises when the language-dominant (usually left) hemisphere is selectively targeted by a neurodegenerative disease. The underlying neuropathology can be either frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) or an atypical form of Alzheimer disease (AD).1 The factors that make the language network selectively susceptible to these neurodegenerative diseases remain unknown. One potential clue emerged from our previous report, which showed a history of learning disability (LD), including developmental dyslexia, to be significantly higher in patients with PPA (n = 108) and their first-degree relatives than in cognitively healthy control individuals (n = 353), as well as dementia of the Alzheimer type (n = 154) or the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia (n = 84).2

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