To diagnose primary progressive aphasia, your doctor will review your symptoms and order tests.

Worsening communication difficulty without significant changes in thinking and behavior for a year or two is a hallmark of primary progressive aphasia.

Neurological examination

Doctors might conduct a neurological examination as well as a speech-language evaluation and a neuropsychological evaluation. Tests will measure your speech, language comprehension and skills, recognition and naming of objects, recall, and other factors.

Blood tests

Doctors might order blood tests to check for infections, measure medication levels or look for other medical conditions. Genetic tests can determine if you have genetic mutations associated with primary progressive aphasia or other neurological conditions.

Brain scans

MRI scans can help diagnose primary progressive aphasia, detect shrinking of certain areas of the brain and show which area of the brain might be affected. MRI scans can also detect strokes, tumors or other conditions that affect brain function.

Single-photon emission computerized tomography or PET scans can show blood flow or glucose metabolism abnormalities in areas of your brain.

Jan. 05, 2016
  1. Primary progressive aphasia. National Aphasia Association. http://www.aphasia.org/aphasia-resources/primary-progressive-aphasia/. Accessed Oct. 18, 2015.
  2. Lee SE, et al. Frontotemporal dementia: Clinical features and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 18, 2015.
  3. Leger GC, et al. A review on primary progressive aphasia. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2007;3:745.
  4. Kirshner HS. Frontotemporal dementia and primary progressive aphasia, a review. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2014;10:1045.
  5. Mesulam M, et al. Primary progressive aphasia and the evolving neurology of the language network. Nature Reviews Neurology. 2014;10:554.
  6. Rogalski EJ, et al. Association between the prevalence of learning disabilities and primary progressive aphasia. JAMA Neurology. 2014;71:1576.
  7. Masulam M. Primary progressive aphasia. Dementia & Neuropsychologia. 2013;7:2.
  8. Family adjustment to aphasia. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/FamilyAdjustmentAphasia/. Accessed Oct. 20, 2015.