Aphasia or Difficulty with Speech

Head | Neurology | Aphasia or Difficulty with Speech (Symptom)


Aphasia is a complete absence of previously acquired language skills, caused by a brain disorder affecting the ability to speak and write, and/or the ability to comprehend and read.

Related disabilities that may occur with aphasia are alexia (word blindness) and agraphia (writing difficulty). Anyone can acquire aphasia, including children, but most people who have aphasia are middle-aged or older. Men and women are equally affected.

The area and extent of brain damage or atrophy will determine the type of aphasia and its symptoms. Aphasia types include expressive aphasia, receptive aphasia, conduction aphasia, anomic aphasia, global aphasia, primary progressive aphasias and many others.

Some characteristics of expressive aphasia are: speaking only in single words (e. g. names of objects), speaking in short, making fragmented phrases; omitting smaller words like the, of, and, therefore the message sounds like a telegram; putting words in a wrong order; swhiching sounds and/or words; making up words; stringing together nonsense words and real words fluently that make no sense together.


Acute aphasia disorders usually develop quickly as a result of head injury or stroke, and progressive forms of aphasia develop slowly from a brain tumour, infection, or dementia. Aphasia can result from Herpes Simplex virus, Alzheimers or Parkinsons disease. It may also be caused by a sudden hemorrhagic event within the brain. Certain chronic neurological disorders, such as epilepsy or migraine, can also include transient aphasia as a prodromal or episodic symptom.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment available for individuals with aphasia vary, depending on the needs and goals of the person. For many, a combination of formal and informal tasks is the most effective treatment.


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