Journal Article

Non-verbal sound processing in the primary progressive aphasias

Johanna C. Goll, Sebastian J. Crutch, Jenny H. Y. Loo, Jonathan D. Rohrer, Chris Frost, Doris-Eva Bamiou and Jason D. Warren

in Brain

Published on behalf of The Guarantors of Brain

Volume 133, issue 1, pages 272-285
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 0006-8950
Published online October 2009 | e-ISSN: 1460-2156 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awp235

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Little is known about the processing of non-verbal sounds in the primary progressive aphasias. Here, we investigated the processing of complex non-verbal sounds in detail, in a consecutive series of 20 patients with primary progressive aphasia [12 with progressive non-fluent aphasia; eight with semantic dementia]. We designed a novel experimental neuropsychological battery to probe complex sound processing at early perceptual, apperceptive and semantic levels, using within-modality response procedures that minimized other cognitive demands and matching tests in the visual modality. Patients with primary progressive aphasia had deficits of non-verbal sound analysis compared with healthy age-matched individuals. Deficits of auditory early perceptual analysis were more common in progressive non-fluent aphasia, deficits of apperceptive processing occurred in both progressive non-fluent aphasia and semantic dementia, and deficits of semantic processing also occurred in both syndromes, but were relatively modality specific in progressive non-fluent aphasia and part of a more severe generic semantic deficit in semantic dementia. Patients with progressive non-fluent aphasia were more likely to show severe auditory than visual deficits as compared to patients with semantic dementia. These findings argue for the existence of core disorders of complex non-verbal sound perception and recognition in primary progressive aphasia and specific disorders at perceptual and semantic levels of cortical auditory processing in progressive non-fluent aphasia and semantic dementia, respectively.

Keywords: auditory perception; non-verbal sound; agnosia; dementia; environmental sounds

Journal Article.  8768 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology ; Neuroscience

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