PPA begins very gradually and initially is experienced as difficulty thinking of common words while speaking or writing. PPA progressively worsens to the point where verbal communication by any means is very difficult. The ability to understand what others are saying or what is being read also declines. In the early stages, memory, reasoning and visual perception are not affected by the disease.
About 20 percent of individuals affected by progressive aphasia have a family history of neurodegenerative disease, such as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. These individuals may have some increased hereditary predisposition for developing a neurodegenerative disease.
As with all forms of FTD, there is no cure for semantic PPA, and in most cases its progression cannot be slowed. Although no medications have been proven effective specifically in FTD, many clinicians look to the medications and treatment approaches targeting behavioral disturbances as necessary. For instance, some FTD patients benefit from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Major research on disease:
Unlike other FTD subtypes, semantic PPA generally does not produce changes in behavior or personality until later stages of the disease. Most people with progressive aphasia maintain the ability to care for themselves, keep up outside interests and, in some instances, remain employed for a few years after onset of the disorder.