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September 9, 2021

Examination of pathologic, anatomic, and cognitive relationships has been limited in primary progressive aphasia (PPA) with underlying Alzheimer’s disease (AD) neuropathology.

Spatial relationships between tau positron emission tomography (PET), cortical thickness, age, and naming on the Boston Naming Test (BNT) in PPA with biomarker evidence of AD (PPA-AD) were examined.

Higher tau PET burden was associated with atrophy and younger age. There was a significant left-lateralized relationship between lower BNT and more atrophy, and between lower BNT and increased tau burden. Variance in naming was primarily shared between tau and atrophy (51%), but naming was uniquely explained more by atrophy (32%) than tau (16%). Higher left anterior temporal tau burden was associated with greater 1-year rate of decline in naming.

PPA-AD has a similar relationship between abnormal biomarkers as first described in amnestic AD, with differing spatial extent, reflecting the left-lateralized nature of the language network.

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Author: Adam Martersteck,
Jaiashre Sridhar,
Christina Coventry,
Sandra Weintraub,
M.‐Marsel Mesulam,
Emily Rogalski