Speech and Language Therapy in Primary Progressive Aphasia

Purpose of the Study

The goal of this study is to develop effective approaches to speech and language therapy for the three variants of primary progressive aphasia (nonfluent, semantic, and logopenic PPA). Participation in the treatment study can occur over teletherapy in patients’ homes, or in-person for those who live locally to one of our research sites in San Francisco, California or Austin, Texas. We are able to offer treatment to individuals who are monolingual speakers of English or Spanish, or individuals who speak more than one language (bilingual or multilingual speakers). To examine how brain structure and function affect treatment response, individuals may undergo MRI scanning at one of research sites.

This project is a collaboration with the Aphasia Research and Treatment Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin (PI: Maya Henry, PhD, CCC-SLP).

Study Details

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Participants must have a diagnosis of PPA: (1) prominent difficulty with speech or language, (2) speech or language difficulties disrupt everyday activities, and (3) predominant impairment of speech or language at symptom onset and for initial phases of the disease.

Exclusion Criteria

  • Individuals will not be able to participate if (1) symptoms are caused by other central nervous system disorders or other medical diagnoses (e.g., stroke, traumatic brain injury, vascular dementia), (2) symptoms are caused by psychiatric illness, (3) there is a predominant episodic memory, visual memory, or visuo-perceptual impairment, or (4) there are predominant behavioral symptoms. Individuals who have a history of head trauma resulting in an extended period of loss of consciousness are also not eligible for this study.
  • Vision and hearing must be adequate enough to participate in speech and language therapy in-person or over teletherapy. It can be assessed upon evaluation.

What to Expect

  • Testing: Eligibility will be determined through comprehensive speech-language and neuropsychological evaluation and review of medical records. Testing typically requires 4–5 hours and can be divided across multiple sessions or days. Participants may undergo MRI scanning.
  • Frequency of Visits: Treatment is conducted in-person or via teletherapy, and includes two 45–60 min sessions per week for 6–12 weeks. Testing occurs immediately before treatment, immediately after treatment, and 3, 6 and 12 months following treatment.
  • Materials Needed: A working internet connection is required for teletherapy. Enrolled teletherapy participants will receive a teletherapy kit including all necessary technology.
  • Costs: None. Airfare, lodging and a fixed stipend will be provided for any travel.

Contact Information

If you are interested in participating in this study or have any questions, please contact contact Carly Miller, MS, CCC-SLP at [email protected].