Prosodic and phonetic subtypes of primary progressive apraxia of speech

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Primary progressive apraxia of speech (PPAOS) is a clinical syndrome in which apraxia of speech is the initial indication of neurodegenerative disease. Prior studies of PPAOS have identified hypometabolism, grey matter atrophy, and white matter tract degeneration in the frontal gyri, precentral cortex, and supplementary motor area (SMA). Recent clinical observations suggest two distinct subtypes of PPAOS may exist. Phonetic PPAOS is characterized predominantly by distorted sound substitutions. Prosodic PPAOS is characterized predominantly by slow, segmented speech. Demographic, clinical, and neuroimaging data (MRI, DTI, and FDG-PET) were analyzed to validate these subtypes and explore anatomic correlates. The Phonetic subtype demonstrated bilateral involvement of the SMA, precentral gyrus, and cerebellar crus. The Prosodic subtype demonstrated more focal involvement in the SMA and right superior cerebellar peduncle. The findings provide converging evidence that differences in the reliably determined predominant clinical characteristics of AOS are associated with distinct imaging patterns, independent of severity.

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