Echolalia in patients with primary progressive aphasia

Shoko Ota, Shigenori Kanno, Ayumi Morita, Wataru Narita, Nobuko Kawakami, Kazuo Kakinuma, Yumiko Saito, Erena Kobayashi, Toru Baba, Osamu Iizuka, Yoshiyuki Nishio, Minoru Matsuda, Hayato Odagiri, Keiko Endo, Kentaro Takanami, Etsuro Mori, Kyoko Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study aimed to examine echolalia and its related symptoms and brain lesions in primary progressive aphasia (PPA). Methods: Forty-five patients with PPA were included: 19 nonfluent/agrammatic variant PPA (nfvPPA), 5 semantic variant PPA, 7 logopenic variant PPA, and 14 unclassified PPA patients. We detected echolalia in unstructured conversations. An evaluation of language function and the presence of parkinsonism, grasp reflex, imitation behaviour, and disinhibition were assessed. We also measured regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) using single-photon emission computed tomography. Results: Echolalia was observed in 12 nfvPPA and 2 unclassified PPA patients. All patients showed mitigated echolalia. We compared nfvPPA patients with echolalia (echolalia group) to those without echolalia (non-echolalia group). The median age of the echolalia group was significantly lower than that of the non-echolalia group, and the echolalia group showed a significantly worse auditory comprehension performance than the non-echolalia group. In contrast, the performance of repetition tasks was not different between the two groups. The prevalence of imitation behaviour in the echolalia group was significantly higher than that in the non-echolalia group. The rCBFs in the bilateral pre-supplementary motor area and bilateral middle cingulate cortex in the echolalia group were significantly lower than those in the non-echolalia group. Conclusions: These findings suggest that echolalia is characteristic of nfvPPA patients with impaired comprehension. Reduced inhibition of the medial frontal cortex with release activity of the anterior perisylvian area account for the emergence of echolalia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1113-1122
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr


  • echolalia
  • primary progressive aphasia
  • primary progressive nonfluent aphasia
  • single-photon emission computed tomography
  • supplementary motor area

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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