Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA)

What Is PPA?

Primary progressive aphasia is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the brain’s language abilities. Patients gradually lose the ability to speak and write, and eventually lose the ability to understand spoken and written language.

Symptoms of primary progressive aphasia can be managed as they appear or worsen. Speech-language pathology can help the patient deal with the loss of language. Patients can learn new communication strategies such as nonverbal techniques. These include gesturing or pointing to cards with the words or images they want to express.

Primary progressive aphasia is caused by a shrinking of certain parts of the brain responsible for language. Abnormal proteins in the brain are typically the cause. No environmental risk factors have been linked with primary progressive aphasia. There may be a genetic element in families with a history of other types of degenerative brain disorders.

The board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists at Norton Neuroscience Institute Memory Center are at the leading edge of advances in caring for those with primary progressive aphasia.

More patients in Louisville and Southern Indiana trust Norton Neuroscience Institute with their neurological care than any other provider in the area. Patients find a comprehensive range of board-certified specialists who provide a diversity of viewpoints to develop a customized care plan for each patient.

Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center offers resources to help families and individuals coping with primary progressive aphasia.

Primary Progressive Aphasia Symptoms

There are a few types of primary progressive aphasia. Symptoms vary from type to type as well from individual to individual. The hallmark symptom of primary progressive aphasia is communication difficulty due to loss of language that worsens gradually overtime. General symptoms include:

  • Difficulty understanding language, including spoken and written words
  • Struggling to name objects or recall specific words
  • Newly incorrect use of grammar and syntax
  • Frequent pausing while speaking to remember words
  • As the disease progresses, patients eventually lose the ability to speak, write and understand language. They may develop additional symptoms outside of language suggestive of other forms of dementia.

Care That’s Focused on You

It’s part of Norton Neuroscience Institute’s goal to care for the whole person, not just the condition.

  • Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Centers offer ways to improve your access to care, provide valuable information on managing your disease and address your quality of life issues. The Norton Healthcare Foundation funds this important service, so patients don’t need to pay.
  • Dedicated patient navigators can help schedule follow-up appointments, coordinate prescription assistance, create customized diet plans and provide guidance on disability benefits, housing, financial and employment concerns and more.
  • Patients can access support groups, exercise classes and other educational events to connect with others and learn how to make the most of life while managing a neurological condition. 
  • Access an on-demand video library of educational content across a variety of condition-related topics is available.
  • We want to help prevent illness. Get help quitting smoking and learn the signs of stroke.
  • Communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more anytime from a computer or mobile device with a free Norton MyChart account.

A Louisville Leader in Neurological Care

More patients from Louisville and Southern Indiana seek their neurology and neurosurgery care from Norton Neuroscience Institute’s nationally recognized specialists than any other providers in the area.

Your Norton Neuroscience Institute medical provider has the expertise, experience, diagnostic tools and sophisticated treatments to provide care tailored to your needs.

  • More than 75 medical, surgical and research specialists are dedicated to providing innovative care to those with brain, spine and nervous system conditions.
  • Advanced, minimally invasive neurosurgery equipment can speed your recovery and minimize pain.
  • Multidisciplinary clinics provide easy access to care in one convenient appointment for your neurological condition, with specialists in oncology, cardiology, orthopedics and behavioral health.
  • Norton Healthcare’s four adult-service hospitals in Louisville are certified by DNV, recognizing excellence and expertise in stroke care.
    • Norton Brownsboro Hospital is recognized as a Comprehensive Stroke Center.
    • Norton Audubon Hospital and Norton Hospital are Primary Stroke Centers.
    • Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital is an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute is at the forefront of neuroscientific research. As investigators on numerous trials, our physicians contribute to groundbreaking studies and publications in peer-reviewed journals. Also, patients may be eligible to take part in these experimental treatments.
    Learn more about current neuroscience clinical trials and studies.
  • The American Heart Association Get With the Guidelines stroke care program has recognized all four of Norton Healthcare’s adult service-hospitals in Louisville for exceeding national averages in getting patients in the door and administering lifesaving treatment to restore blood flow to the brain.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute’s multiple sclerosis (MS) program has been designated a Center for Comprehensive MS Care by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  • The National Association of Epilepsy Centers has recognized Norton Neuroscience Institute as a Level 4 Epilepsy Center, providing the highest level of medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center navigators help educate patients and their families about new diagnoses, available treatments and ways to manage their disease.
  • We are listed by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of 100 great neurosurgery and spine programs.

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