Understanding Aphasia

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June marks National Aphasia Awareness Month.  Aphasia, an acquired communication disorder, is the complete loss of language and affects the expression and comprehension of speech often combined with the inability to read or write.  General causes of Aphasia are stroke, brain tumor, traumatic brain injury or infection, and degenerative brain disease. The disorder causes limited communication and may range from mild to severe.  Naming objects, recalling words, and putting sentences in the proper sequence may be impaired.  It can also cause slurred speech and weakness of facial muscles, which may exacerbate language problems.

In an effort to help you better understand this common, but not well known disorder, Dr. Joseph Sobelman, Neurology Medical Director for CareOne’s Morris County centers, explains the different types of Aphasia and the impact the disorder has on those affected by it.

  • Broca’s Aphasia – also known as “expressive Aphasia”, causes a disruption of word production and non-fluent speech with a halting quality that requires great effort. Those affected by Broca’s Aphasia retain comprehension of spoken words and directions, making speech therapy an important treatment option.
  • Wernicke’s Aphasia – this form of language dysfunction results from abnormalities in the posterior part of the brain’s superior temporal lobe.  Comprehension of spoken or written words is the primary dysfunction.  Speech output is less impaired, but lacks in meaning and proper grammar.  Patients may not be troubled by this, making speech therapy more challenging.
  • Global Aphasia – represents the most severe form of Aphasia. and combines elements of both Broca’s and Wernicke’s Aphasia.  Patients produce few words, understand little that is spoken to them, and cannot read or write.  These more significant losses are often associated with greater deficits in motor, sensory, and visual status due to a larger area of brain damage.
  • Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) – combines language dysfunction with variable degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline.
  • Other types of Aphasia – include language losses isolated to naming objects (Anomic), or predominantly reading (Alexia) or writing (Agraphia) deficits.

If you or someone you know is affected by Aphasia, please feel free to call us at 1-877-99-CARE1 (22731) to learn more about CareOne’s programs and services.

June 6, 2014 | Posted by CareOne | Filed in Blog | Tags: , , , , , , ,