Abnormal language-related oscillatory responses in primary progressive aphasia

A. Kielar, T. Deschamps, R. Jokel, J. A. Meltzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Patients with Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) may react to linguistic stimuli differently than healthy controls, reflecting degeneration of language networks and engagement of compensatory mechanisms. We used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to evaluate oscillatory neural responses in sentence comprehension, in patients with PPA and age-matched controls. Participants viewed sentences containing semantically and syntactically anomalous words that evoke distinct oscillatory responses. For age-matched controls, semantic anomalies elicited left-lateralized 8–30 Hz power decreases distributed along ventral brain regions, whereas syntactic anomalies elicited bilateral power decreases in both ventral and dorsal regions. In comparison to controls, patients with PPA showed altered patterns of induced oscillations, characterized by delayed latencies and attenuated amplitude, which were correlated with linguistic impairment measured offline. The recruitment of right hemisphere temporo-parietal areas (also found in controls) was correlated with preserved semantic processing abilities, indicating that preserved neural activity in these regions was able to support successful semantic processing. In contrast, syntactic processing was more consistently impaired in PPA, regardless of neural activity patterns, suggesting that this domain of language is particularly vulnerable to the neuronal loss. In addition, we found that delayed peak latencies of oscillatory responses were associated with lower accuracy for detecting semantic anomalies, suggesting that language deficits observed in PPA may be linked to delayed or slowed information processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-574
Number of pages15
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - 2018


  • MEG oscillations
  • Primary progressive aphasia (PPA)
  • Sentence comprehension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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