Bruce Willis’ diagnosis focuses on aphasia; Patients with cognitive disorders may suffer from expressive or pervasive patterns of communication problems

In layman’s terms, aphasia is a condition that affects the parts of the brain important to communication. It leads to a condition in which people have difficulty understanding language or expressing themselves orally or in writing, or both.

Aphasia usually comes on suddenly after a stroke or head injury. However, it can also occur insidiously as a result of a slowly growing brain tumor or a disease that causes progressive, irreversible damage (degenerative). The severity of aphasia is determined by a variety of factors, including the source and extent of brain damage.

Once the underlying cause has been identified, the primary treatment for aphasia is speech and language therapy.

A person with aphasia relearns and practices language skills and learns to communicate in other ways. It is important that the patient has family support. Family members play a key role in this process, helping individuals communicate.

When people show symptoms of having trouble understanding something they’re being told, it could mean aphasia. They may also have trouble finding the right words to explain themselves. Even when writing, people with aphasia cannot communicate.

Aphasia is most commonly caused by damage to one or more language-controlling areas of your brain. It can occur due to:

  • A brain tumor
  • an infection
  • Dementia or another neurological disorder
  • A degenerative disease
  • A head injury
  • A stroke

The most common cause of aphasia is stroke. There are several types of aphasia that can render a person completely unable to communicate with the outside world.

pattern of aphasia
People with aphasia can have different patterns of strengths and weaknesses.

Expressive Aphasia
This is also known as Broca’s aphasia or non-fluent aphasia. People with this type of aphasia can understand what others are saying better than they can speak. People with this type of aphasia have trouble getting words out, speak in extremely short sentences, and skip words. A person might say, “Would like to eat” or “Go for a walk in the park today.”

A listener can usually understand the meaning. But people with this aphasia pattern are often aware of their communication difficulties and can feel frustrated. You may also have right-sided paralysis or weakness.

Comprehensive aphasia
People with this type of aphasia (also known as flow or Wernicke aphasia) may speak freely and fluently in long, complicated sentences that don’t make sense and contain garbled, imprecise, or unnecessary words. They often do not understand spoken language effectively and are often unaware that others cannot understand them.

Global Aphasia
This type of aphasia is characterized by poor understanding and difficulty constructing words and sentences. Global aphasia is caused by significant impairment of the language networks in the brain. People suffering from global aphasia have significant difficulties in expression and understanding.

Speech therapy can be used to treat aphasia caused by acquired diseases, in which a patient is first asked to pronounce syllables and sounds that are deeply rooted, such as: B. Religious phrases and music. Later, the patient is encouraged to expand his repertoire of spontaneous words. Various therapies such as melodic intonation therapy are used to cure this problem. However, there is no specific drug used to treat aphasia.

A person who speaks many languages ​​may be able to avoid aphasia as it can support the formation of alternative neural networks in the brain and help keep language pathways intact.

The author is Director, Neuroscience, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital


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