aphasia

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Aphasia is a language disorder that results from damage to portions of the brain that are responsible for language. For most people, these are parts of the left side (hemisphere) of the brain. Aphasia usually occurs suddenly, often as the result of a stroke or head injury, but it may also develop slowly, as in the case of a brain tumor. The disorder impairs the expression and understanding of language as well as reading and writing. “Aphasia may co-occur with speech disorders such as dysarthria or apraxia of speech, which also result from brain damage”. (Sarno 23) Anyone can acquire aphasia, but most people who have aphasia are in their middle to late years. Men and women are equally affected. “It is estimated that approximately 80,000 individuals acquire aphasia each year”.(Eiesenson 37) “About one million persons in the United States currently have aphasia”.(www.aphasia.org) Aphasia is caused by damage to one or more of the language areas of the brain. Many times, the cause of the brain injury is a stroke. A stroke occurs when, for some reason, blood is unable to reach a part of the brain. Brain cells die when they do not receive their normal supply of blood, which carries oxygen and important nutrients. Other causes of brain injury are severe blows to the head, brain tumors, brain infections, and other conditions of the brain. “Individuals with Broca's aphasia have damage to the frontal lobe of the brain”. (www.aphasia.org) These individuals frequently speak in short, meaningful phrases that are produced with great effort. Broca's aphasia is thus characterized as a nonfluent aphasia. Affected people often omit small words such as "is," "and," and "the." “For example, a person with Broca's aphasia may say, "Walk dog" meaning, "I will take the dog for a walk." The same sentence could also mean "You take the dog for a walk," or "The dog walked out of the yard," depending on the circumstances”. (Jakobson 43) Individuals with Broca's aphasia are able to understand the speech of others to varying degrees. Because of this, they are often aware of their difficulties and can become easily frustrated by their speaking problems. “Individuals with Broca's aphasia often have right-sided weakness or paralysis of the arm and leg because the frontal lobe is also important for body movement”. (Jakobs... ... middle of paper ... ... the home. Seek out support groups such as stroke clubs. Aphasia research is exploring new ways to evaluate and treat aphasia as well as to further understanding of the function of the brain. Brain imaging techniques are helping to define brain function, determine the severity of brain damage, and predict the severity of the aphasia. “These procedures include PET (positron emission tomography), CT (computed tomography), and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) as well as the new functional magnetic resonance (FMRI), which identifies areas of the brain that are used during activities such as speaking or listening”. () “In-depth testing of the language ability of individuals with the various aphasic syndromes is helping to design effective treatment strategies”.() The use of computers in aphasia treatment is being studied. Promising new drugs administered shortly after some types of stroke are being investigated as ways to reduce the severity of aphasia Works Cited Sarno, Martha T. Acquired Aphasia. California. Academic Press. 1998. Eiesenson, Jon. Aphasia in Children. New York. Jakobson, Roman. Child Language Aphasia and Phonological Universals. Texas. 1972 www.aphasia.org

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