Treatment for word retrieval in semantic and logopenic variants of primary progressive aphasia: Immediate and long-term outcomes

Maya L. Henry, H. Isabel Hubbard, Stephanie M. Grasso, Heather R. Dial, Pélagie M. Beeson, Bruce L. Miller, Maria Luisa Gorno-Tempini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Purpose: Recent studies confirm the utility of speechlanguage intervention in primary progressive aphasia (PPA); however, long-term outcomes, ideal dosage parameters, and relative benefits of intervention across clinical variants warrant additional investigation. The purpose of this study was to determine whether naming treatment affords significant, lasting, and generalized improvement for individuals with semantic and logopenic PPA and whether dosage manipulations significantly affect treatment outcomes. Method: Eighteen individuals with PPA (9 semantic and 9 logopenic variant) underwent lexical retrieval treatment designed to leverage spared cognitive-linguistic domains and develop self-cueing strategies to promote naming. One group (n = 10) underwent once-weekly treatment sessions, and the other group (n = 8) received the same treatment with 2 sessions per week and an additional “booster” treatment phase at 3 months post-treatment. Performance on trained and untrained targets/tasks was measured immediately after treatment and at 3, 6, and 12 months post-treatment. Results: Outcomes from the full cohort of individuals with PPA showed significantly improved naming of trained items immediately post-treatment and at all follow-up assessments through 1 year. Generalized improvement on untrained items was significant up to 6 months post-treatment. The positive response to treatment was comparable regardless of session frequency or inclusion of a booster phase. Outcomes were comparable across PPA subtypes, as was maintenance of gains over the post-treatment period. Conclusion: This study documents positive naming treatment outcomes for a group of individuals with PPA, demonstrating strong direct treatment effects, maintenance of gains up to 1 year post-treatment, and generalization to untrained items. Lexical retrieval treatment, in conjunction with daily home practice, had a strong positive effect that did not require more than 1 clinician-directed treatment session per week. Findings confirm that strategic training designed to capitalize on spared cognitive-linguistic abilities results in significant and lasting improvement, despite ongoing disease progression, in PPA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2723-2749
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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