Multivariate analysis reveals anatomical correlates of naming errors in primary progressive aphasia

Rose Bruffaerts, Jolien Schaeverbeke, An-Sofie de Weer, Natalie Nelissen, Eva Dries, Karen van Bouwel, Anne Sieben, Bruno Bergmans, Charlotte Swinnen, Yolande Pijnenburg, Stefan Sunaert, Mathieu Vandenbulcke, Rik Vandenberghe

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is an overarching term for a heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative diseases which affect language processing. Impaired picture naming has been linked to atrophy of the anterior temporal lobe in the semantic variant of PPA. Although atrophy of the anterior temporal lobe proposedly impairs picture naming by undermining access to semantic knowledge, picture naming also entails object recognition and lexical retrieval. Using multivariate analysis, we investigated whether cortical atrophy relates to different types of naming errors generated during picture naming in 43 PPA patients (13 semantic, 9 logopenic, 11 nonfluent, and 10 mixed variant). Omissions were associated with atrophy of the anterior temporal lobes. Semantic errors, for example, mistaking a rhinoceros for a hippopotamus, were associated with atrophy of the left mid and posterior fusiform cortex and the posterior middle and inferior temporal gyrus. Semantic errors and atrophy in these regions occurred in each PPA subtype, without major between-subtype differences. We propose that pathological changes to neural mechanisms associated with semantic errors occur across the PPA spectrum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-82
Number of pages12
JournalNeurobiology of aging
Early online dateDec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Language
  • Picture naming
  • Primary progressive aphasia
  • Semantic dementia
  • Semantic errors
  • Volumetric analysis

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