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U.S. News & World Report: Aphasia

The National Aphasia Association defines the disorder as an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write. Aphasia is always due to injury to the brain-most commonly from a stroke, particularly in older individuals. But brain injuries resulting in aphasia may also arise from head trauma, from brain tumors, or from infections.

Aphasia can be so severe as to make communication with the patient almost impossible, or it can be very mild. It may affect mainly a single aspect of language use, such as the ability to retrieve the names of objects, or the ability to put words together into sentences, or the ability to read. More commonly, however, multiple aspects of communication are impaired, while some channels remain accessible for a limited exchange of information.

Dr. William B.J. Hicks, co-director of the Comprehensive Stroke Program At OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital told U.S. News and World Report that people with non-fluent aphasia have difficulty forming words, speak in short sentences and omit words. For example, instead of saying "I really want food," they may say "want food," Hicks told a reporter from USNWR.

Dr . Hicks added the most serious type is global aphasia, in which people are often unable to say or understand any words, and their communication is limited to facial expressions, body language, physical gestures and making sounds and different intonations.

The NIH website says In some instances, an individual will completely recover from aphasia without treatment. In most cases, however, language therapy should begin as soon as possible and be tailored to the individual needs of the person. Rehabilitation with a speech pathologist involves extensive exercises in which individuals read, write, follow directions, and repeat what they hear. Computer-aided therapy may supplement standard language therapy.

To read the entire article from U.S. News & World Report on Aphasia, simply click the link.