Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
A longitudinal study of oral and written naming and comprehension of nouns and verbs in an individual (M. M. L.) with nonfluent primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is reported. M. M. L. showed progressive deterioration of oral naming of verbs well before deterioration of written naming of verbs and before deterioration of oral or written naming of nouns. Her comprehension of both nouns and verbs remained intact, at least relative to oral naming of verbs. Her performance is compared to that of two other individuals with nonfluent PPA, who were tested at two time points. These patients showed similar patterns with respect to grammatical word class (verbs more impaired than nouns) and modality (spoken production more impaired than written production), but somewhat different courses of deterioration. The modality-specific nature of the observed verb production deficits rules out a semantic locus for the grammatical class effects. The results provide a new source of evidence for the hypothesis that there are distinct neural mechanisms for accessing lexical representations of nouns and verbs in language production.