Skip to main content

Language in Primary Progressive Aphasia


The purpose of this study is to further define the neurological and linguistic deterioration in primary progressive aphasia.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
N/A N/A Both No
May 2007
April 2023

  • Diagnosis of primary progressive aphasia
  • Right-handed
  • English speaker
  • Visual acuity of at least 20/30 corrected
  • Adequate hearing to follow conversation
  • Safe for an MRI scan

  • Left-handed
  • Claustrophobia
  • Presence of significant medical illness that could interfere with participation

The study's main goal is to gain a better understanding of the progression and characterization of primary progressive aphasia (PPA). To do this, we look at many different aspects of the disease: neurological, defined by a clinical exam and MRI; neuropsychological, defined by a large battery of tests examining memory, attention, naming, and others; and linguistic, measured through picture, word, and sentence comprehension.

Volunteers with PPA will participate for 3 days; control volunteers will only participate for 2 days. On the first day, each participant will come to the Chicago campus of Northwestern University to complete the neuropsychological testing battery developed by the researchers involved in the study. Also, on day one, the participant will be asked to have an MRI for imaging purposes.

On days two and three (or just day two, if a control participant), the participant will perform tasks on a computer in which they will be presented with pictures on a screen and asked to respond appropriately, based on study instructions. Also, the participant will be asked to perform a task while connected to an EEG to record event-related potentials.

Fifteen PPA and 15 control participants will be recruited each year for 4 years. Those participating in years one and two will return in years three and four, respectively, to look at progression. Participants recruited in years three and four will only participate in the study once.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
Northwestern University
Chicago Illinois 60611 Recruiting Christina Coventry, MS, RN

Northwestern University

  • National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

Name Role Affiliation
Marsel Mesulam, MD Principal Investigator Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Name Phone Email
Christina Coventry, MS, RN 312-908-9681


Language in Primary Progressive Aphasia