Aphasia is a language disorder or impairment of the use of language as result of damage to the portion of the brain (parts of the left side of the brain (hemisphere)) responsible for language. Symptoms associated to this disorder include: Difficulty in expressing oneself when speaking, impairs ability to read / write and trouble understanding speech. A brain injury such as sudden stroke or a blow to the head, tumors, brain infection and other conditions can lead to stoppage of blood flow to reach part of the brain, responsible for language. Aphasia is categorized in one of three language disorders: Brocas, Wernicke and Global Aphasia. Broca’s aphasia damage occurs to the frontal lobe (Involved in problem solving, memory, language, judgment, and other functions) of the brain, and characterized by those omitting small words (Such as “is,” “and,” and “the”) pronounced in a sentence.
Individuals with Wernicke’s aphasia may speak in long sentences that have no meaning, create new words or add unnecessary words to a sentence. Their brain injury causes difficulty understanding speech and therefore often unaware of their mistakes. Global aphasia results from extensive damage to the portion of the brain responsible for language. The extent symptoms are severe communication difficulties and may be extremely limited in the ability to speak or comprehend language. According to National Institute of Deafness and other Communications Disorders, approximately 80,000 individuals acquire aphasia annually. The National Aphasia Association (NAA) is nonprofit organization that promotes public education, research, rehabilitation, and support services to assist people with aphasia and their families.
A speech practice kit (Available by contacting a speech therapist or organizations such as NAA), help stroke survivors recover from aphasia, includes a talking CD or paper materials, activities and guides designed for long — term use in the home or care centers.
Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) is a neurological disease, which causes people have trouble recalling and using words (language disorder) affecting the brain, but the onset is caused over a period of time or gradual progression (form of frontotemporal dementia). Primarily affects people over the age of fifty years old (Sometimes as early as in the 40’s) and affecting twice as many men than women. At least half of the time, heredity link exist or family history. Brain scans have shown language part of the brain in the perisylvian of the left hemisphere (brain) has shrunk and blood circulation and brain activity has diminished.
The person may or may not have difficulty understanding speech. Early symptoms include difficulties recalling the names of people and objects, impairment expressing one’s thoughts, sometimes difficulties understanding others, and may develop difficulty with math. Eventually within fifteen years of the diagnosis of PPA, almost all patients become mute and unable to understand spoken or written language. Otherwise, behavior seems to be normal. Compensating for the loss of language skills by training in alternative methods of communication, by which a speech therapist can help provide relief. A helpful technique for Aphasia patients: Carrying laminated cards that provide information to assist patients and others in specific situations. A voice synthesizers or personal computers digitally store words and phrases. Other methods to communicate include using gestures, pantomime, and drawing. Currently no drugs offer specific treatment for PPA.
Primary Progressive Aphasia is often misdiagnosed for Alzheimer’s disease. Most people with PPI can take care of themselves, continue to remain employed and retain hobbies. Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, patients cannot retain new information in memory, contrary to PPI patients can recall and evaluate recent events even though they may not be able to express their knowledge orally. However, gradual cognitive decline is inevitable, where activities of daily living are comprised in a type of dementia.
A study published in the Archives of Neurology (January 2007), and discussed in the editorial section of the journal, Northwest University researchers discovered a gene mutation called a progranulin, attributed to causing Primary Progressive Aphasia. Marsel Mesulam, MD, lead author of the study and the Ruth and Evelyn Dunbar Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry said: “This discover, for the first time, provides a molecular approach to understanding the causes and eventually the treatment for this disease.” In 1982, Dr. Mesulam was the first scientist to discover Primary Progressive Aphasia. He estimates PPA affects tens of thousands of people through no exact statistics are available. Patients can maintain a normal and active life, despite loss or ability to speak. Unfortunately, as PPA progresses over ten to fifteen years: Eventually patients will no longer have the ability to function independently.