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Abstract

Slowly progressive aphasia without generalized dementia is a degenerative syndrome selectively affecting dominant hemisphere language areas. We report changes in regional glucose metabolism measured by positron emission tomography in two patients with this condition. Striking abnormalities of glucose utilization in the left cerebral cortex were demonstrated in both patients. The findings of other neurodiagnostic studies were relatively unremarkable. The first patient had a 3-year history of progressive anomia and impaired auditory verbal recall. An electroencephalogram was normal, and computed tomography showed mild left perisylvian atrophy. Positron emission tomography revealed profound hypometabolism in the left temporal regions. The second patient also had a 3-year history of progressive anomia. Electroencephalography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging scans were normal. Positron emission tomography showed a major reduction in left parietal glucose utilization, with a lesser decrement in left temporal metabolism. Neither patient demonstrated significant contralateral or global abnormalities such as those reported in positron emission tomographic studies of Alzheimer's disease with or without focal clinical features. These observations support the concept of adult-onset progressive aphasia without dementia as a clinical syndrome distinct from Alzheimer's disease.