Neurological Sciences

, Volume 38, Issue 8, pp 1469–1483 | Cite as

SAND: a Screening for Aphasia in NeuroDegeneration. Development and normative data

  • Eleonora CatricalàEmail author
  • Elena Gobbi
  • Petronilla Battista
  • Antonio Miozzo
  • Cristina Polito
  • Veronica Boschi
  • Valentina Esposito
  • Sofia Cuoco
  • Paolo Barone
  • Sandro Sorbi
  • Stefano F. Cappa
  • Peter Garrard
Original Article


Language assessment has a critical role in the clinical diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases, in particular, in the case of Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA). The current diagnostic criteria (Gorno-Tempini et al., 2011) identify three main variants on the basis of clinical features and patterns of brain atrophy. Widely accepted tools to diagnose, clinically classify, and follow up the heterogeneous language profiles of PPA are still lacking. In this study, we develop a screening battery, composed of nine tests (picture naming, word and sentence comprehension, word and sentence repetition, reading, semantic association, writing and picture description), following the recommendations of current diagnostic guidelines and taking into account recent research on the topic. All tasks were developed with consideration of the psycholinguistic factors that can affect performance, with the aim of achieving sensitivity to the language deficit to which each task was relevant, and to allow identification of the selective characteristic impairments of each PPA variant. Normative data on 134 Italian subjects pooled across homogeneous subgroups for age, sex, and education are reported. Although further work is still needed, this battery represents a first step towards a concise multilingual standard language examination, a fast and simple tool to help clinicians and researchers in the diagnosis of PPA.


Language assessment Neurodegenerative diseases Normative data Primary progressive aphasia Screening battery Aphasia 



We thank Cristiano Chesi for his helpful comments in the construction of sentence comprehension task, Caterina Balduzzi for her help in collecting controls’ data and in scoring, and Monica Consonni and Laura Sampietro for their assistance in data management. This study was supported by the MRC Research Grant: Ref MR/N025881/1.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eleonora Catricalà
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elena Gobbi
    • 2
  • Petronilla Battista
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Antonio Miozzo
    • 5
  • Cristina Polito
    • 6
  • Veronica Boschi
    • 1
  • Valentina Esposito
    • 2
  • Sofia Cuoco
    • 7
  • Paolo Barone
    • 7
  • Sandro Sorbi
    • 4
  • Stefano F. Cappa
    • 1
    • 8
  • Peter Garrard
    • 9
  1. 1.NEtSScuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS—PaviaPaviaItalia
  2. 2.Università Vita-Salute San RaffaeleMilanoItalia
  3. 3.Unità di Malattie Neurodegenerative, Dipartimento di medicina di base, neuroscienze e organi del sensoUniversità di Bari Aldo MoroBariItalia
  4. 4.NEUROFARBA- Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, Psicologia, Area del Farmaco e Salute del BambinoUniversità di FirenzeFirenzeItalia
  5. 5.Unità di Neurologia, Dipartimento di scienze cliniche e sperimentaliUniversità di BresciaBresciaItalia
  6. 6.SBSC - Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche Sperimentali e ClinicheUniversità di FirenzeFirenzeItalia
  7. 7.Facoltà di Medicina e ChirurgiaUniversità degli Studi di SalernoFiscianoItalia
  8. 8.IRCCS S. Giovanni di Dio FatebenefratelliBresciaItalia
  9. 9.Neuroscience Research CentreSt George’s—University of LondonLondonUK

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