Vasectomy in men with primary progressive aphasia

Sandra Weintraub*, Christopher Fahey, Nancy Johnson, Marek Marsel Mesulam, Darren R. Gitelman, Bing B. Weitner, Alfred Rademaker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To study the frequency of vasectomy in men with primary progressive aphasia (PPA). BACKGROUND: PPA is a dementia syndrome in which aphasia emerges in relative isolation during the initial stages of illness. On the basis of a clinical observation in a patient who dated the onset of symptoms to the period after a vasectomy, and because of the curious sharing of the tau protein exclusively by brain and sperm, vasectomy rates were examined in men with PPA. METHOD: This study used a case control design. Forty-seven men with PPA and 57 men with no cognitive impairment (NC) between 55 and 80 years of age were surveyed about a history of vasectomy. RESULTS: The age-adjusted rate of vasectomy in PPA patients (40%) was higher than in NC (16%, P=0.02). There was a younger age at onset for the patients with vasectomy (58.8 vs. 62.9 y, P=0.03). CONCLUSIONS: Vasectomy may constitute one risk factor for PPA in men. Potential mechanisms mediating risk include vasectomy-induced immune responses to sperm, which shares antigenic epitopes with brain. Antisperm antibodies can also develop in women and become risk factors for PPA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-193
Number of pages4
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Dementia
  • Frontotemporal
  • Frontotemporal lobar degeneration
  • Risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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