- Aphasia is an impairment of the
ability to use or comprehend (and express) language (i.e.
words). Aphasia makes it difficult to speak, read, write, or
understand speech, but has no effect on an individual's
intelligence. Aphasia can affect anyone of any age, race, or
- Aphasia is often the result of damage to the language areas of the brain located in the left hemisphere. It is usually acquired as a result of a Stroke or other brain injury
(e.g., cerebral tumor, head injury, etc.).
- A type of aphasia known as Broca's
aphasia (non-fluent aphasia) results from damage to an area
in the left frontal lobe of the brain known as the Broca's
area. Individuals with this condition are able to understand
the speech of others normally, but are unable to properly
form words. Consequently, their speech is slow and slurred,
and they speak in short phrases produced with great effort.
- Another important language area in
the brain is Wernicke's area, which normally communicates
with Broca's area via a bundle of nerves known as the
arcuate fasciculus. When the arcuate fasciculus is damaged,
it may cause a condition known as conduction aphasia, in
which patients understand language normally, but are unable
to repeat words. Their speech does not make sense.
- People with damage to Wernicke's
area specifically (i.e., Wernicke's aphasia or fluent
aphasia) can speak clearly, but their words make no sense
(i.e., "word salad"). They also may add unnecessary words or
even create new ones. They have great difficulty in
understanding the speech of other people.
- Transient aphasia refers to a
temporary condition involving problems with communication,
whereas global aphasia describes a condition in which
extensive portions of the brain have been damaged, resulting
in severe and permanent communication
- Is aimed at the underlying cause, and may involve rehabilitation by a speech therapist.
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