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Primary Progressive Aphasia

Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) is a condition caused by gradual damage to the areas of the brain that control language.  People with PPA often have difficulty finding words, understanding conversations and reading and writing.

As the name suggests, this type of aphasia begins very subtly and progresses over time.  The first sign is usually difficulty naming objects and people.

PPA is caused by degeneration in the brain, and so it is characterised as a type of dementia.  Memory loss and personality change may occur in the later stages of the disease.

There are several sub-types of progressive aphasia:

  • Semantic dementia – where people have difficulty remembering the meaning of words;
  • Progressive non-fluent aphasia – people find it harder to speak and make mistakes in how they say words and sentences;
  • Logopenic aphasia – people have trouble finding the words they want to use.

The websites below all have information about PPA:





Help and support in New Zealand is provided by:

Speech Language Therapy

Therapists may help by providing advice and strategies.  Therapy cannot reverse the effect of the degeneration.  Some District Health Boards (DHBs) do not provide SLT for communication difficulties associated with dementia.

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