Treatment for anomia in bilingual speakers with progressive aphasia

Stephanie M. Grasso*, Elizabeth D. Peña, Nina Kazemi, Haideh Mirzapour, Rozen Neupane, Borna Bonakdarpour, Maria Luisa Gorno-Tempini, Maya L. Henry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Anomia is an early and prominent feature of primary progressive aphasia (PPA) and other neurodegenerative disorders. Research investigating treatment for lexical retrieval impairment in individuals with progressive anomia has focused primarily on monolingual speakers, and treatment in bilingual speakers is relatively unexplored. In this series of single-case experiments, 10 bilingual speakers with progressive anomia received lexical retrieval treatment designed to engage relatively spared cognitive-linguistic abilities and promote word retrieval. Treatment was administered in two phases, with one language targeted per phase. Cross-linguistic cognates (e.g., rose and rosa) were included as treatment targets to investigate their potential to facilitate cross-linguistic transfer. Performance on trained and untrained stimuli was evaluated before, during, and after each phase of treatment, and at 3, 6, and 12 months post-treatment. Participants demonstrated a significant treatment effect in each of their treated languages, with maintenance up to one year post-treatment for the majority of participants. Most participants showed a significant cross-linguistic transfer effect for trained cognates in both the dominant and nondominant language, with fewer than half of participants showing a significant translation effect for noncognates. A gradual diminution of translation and generalization effects was observed during the follow-up period. Findings support the implementation of dual-language intervention approaches for bilingual speakers with progressive anomia, irrespective of language dominance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1371
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Bilingualism
  • Intervention
  • Primary progressive aphasia
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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