Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a rare neurological disorder and form of frontotemporal dementia which affects one’s ability to communicate. In many cases, people develop PPA prior to turning 65 years old. Sometimes, in early stages, it can be difficult to diagnose someone with PPA, as the symptoms and presentation are still relatively subtle. However, this can cause issues down the line, particularly in relation to accessing adequate care.
According to an article from the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre, the Centre’s FRONTIER Research Group has developed an application (“app”) called the Sydney Language Battery (SYDBAT) app to help with early PPA diagnoses. This app, which can be downloaded for free from Apple, offers four language and speech evaluations, records speech, exports data, and scores results automatically.
Currently, the SYDBAT app is used in Australia to help provide PPA diagnoses. Now that the app is available for download on Apple devices, researchers hope that it will improve diagnoses and outcomes on a more global scale. Learn more about the SYDBAT app.
About Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA)
As described above, primary progressive aphasia (PPA) impacts one’s ability to communicate. In patients with PPA, sections of the brain atrophy – in particular, the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes on the brain’s left side. These sections are necessary for speech and language. Thus, atrophy causes difficulty expressing thoughts, understanding words, or even being able to read and write. Risk factors include having certain gene mutations or having learning disabilities.
There are three main forms of PPA. The first, semantic variant, results in difficulty understanding written and spoken language, problems naming (even previously known) objects, and difficulty understanding the meaning of what is said or written. The lopogenic form causes difficulty with repetition and remembering words, as well as frequent pauses in speech. Finally, the nonfluent-agrammatic variant is characterized by difficult with complex sentences, speaking problems, and poor grammar.