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A small study has found primary progressive aphasia has been linked to a build-up of proteins in the left side of the brain.

Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a type of dementia that leads to the gradual loss of language skills. While it can affect adults of any age, it’s most common in people under the age of 65. People with PPA don’t necessarily have problems with memory or reasoning, and can often function in many routine daily activities, but can go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Now new research from Northwestern University, which studied 32 patients with PPA, has found that amyloid build-up (toxic proteins which are linked to Alzheimer’s disease) accumulates in the left side of the brain, which is linked with language, logic, reasoning and linear thinking.

The research was carried out using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Imaging. It’s thought the imaging would allow researchers to track the development of PPA as well as different forms of dementia by comparing the amyloid build-up.

‘By understanding where these proteins accumulate first and over time, we can better understand the course of the disease and where to target treatment,’ said Emily Rogalski, a research associate professor at Northwestern’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center (CNADC).