You could be reading the full-text of this article now if you...

If you have access to this article through your institution,
you can view this article in

Vasectomy in Men With Primary Progressive Aphasia

Weintraub, Sandra PhD* † ‡; Fahey, Christopher MD; Johnson, Nancy PhD* ‡; Mesulam, Marek-Marsel MD* †; Gitelman, Darren R. MD* ‡; Weitner, Bing B. MS* §; Rademaker, Alfred PhD* §

Cognitive & Behavioral Neurology:
doi: 10.1097/01.wnn.0000213923.48632.ab
Original Studies
Abstract

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.

Author Information

*Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center

Departments of Neurology

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

§Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL

Funding: Supported in part by Alzheimer's Disease Core Center grant (AG13854) from the National Institute on Aging to Northwestern University, Chicago, IL.

Reprints: Sandra Weintraub, PhD, Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center, 320 East Superior, Searle 11-467, Chicago, IL 60611 (e-mail: sweintraub@northwestern.edu).

Received for publication June 1, 2006; accepted August 31, 2006

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.