What is Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA)?

  • Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) is a neurodegenerative disease which mainly affects language, ranging from subtle impairment to total incapacity to communicate.
  • PPA should be suspected in anyone who shows progressive language difficulties.
  • In their everyday life, people suffering from PPA show difficulty properly communicating their needs, for example, when speaking on the phone or ordering at a restaurant. Therefore, they tend to stand back and isolate themselves because of their language difficulties.
  • During the early stages of the disease, other cognitive functions such as memory and calculation abilities remain well preserved, but may decline over time.
  • Across the province of Quebec, PPA cases represent 3 people out of every 100 000 and they often present between the ages of 55 and 65.
  • There are three main variants of PPA: nonfluent/agrammatic, logopenic and semantic.
  • There is also a very rare form of communication disorder that specifically affects speech : the Primary Progressive Apraxia of Speech.