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Verbal and Visuospatial Span in Logopenic Progressive Aphasia and Alzheimer's Disease

  • David G. Foxe (a1), Muireann Irish (a1) (a2) (a3), John R. Hodges (a1) (a2) (a3) and Olivier Piguet (a1) (a2) (a3)


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)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Olivier Piguet, Neuroscience Research Australia, Barker Street, Randwick NSW 2031, Australia. E-mail:


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Verbal and Visuospatial Span in Logopenic Progressive Aphasia and Alzheimer's Disease

  • David G. Foxe (a1), Muireann Irish (a1) (a2) (a3), John R. Hodges (a1) (a2) (a3) and Olivier Piguet (a1) (a2) (a3)


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