Previous studies of patients with brain damage have suggested a close relationship between aphasia and movement disorders. Neurodegenerative extrapyramidal syndromes associated with cognitive impairment provide an interesting model for studying the neural substrates of cognitive and motor symptoms. In this review, we focused on studies investigating language production abilities in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), Corticobasal Syndrome (CBS) and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). According to some reports, these patients exhibit a reduction in performance in both action and object naming or verb production compared to healthy individuals. Furthermore, a disproportional impairment of action naming compared to object naming was systematically observed in patients with these disorders. The study of these clinical conditions offers the unique opportunity to examine the close link between linguistic features and motor characteristics of action. This particular pattern of language impairment may contribute to the debate on embodiment theory and on the involvement of the basal ganglia in language and in integrating language and movement. From a translational perspective, we suggest that language ability assessments are useful in the clinical work-up, along with neuropsychological and motor evaluations. Specific protocols should be developed in the near future to better characterize language deficits and to permit an early cognitive diagnosis. Moreover, the link between language deficits and motor impairment opens a new issue for treatment approaches. Treatment of one of these two symptoms may ameliorate the other, and treating both may produce a greater improvement in patients' global clinical conditions.
- Corticobasal Syndrome
- Parkinson's Disease
- Progressive Supranuclear Palsy