Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Aphasias is when damage to specific areas of your brain causes language problems. There are several form of Aphasias based upon what part of your brain has been damage and the extent of the damage. Aphasias can occur rapidly in those who have suffered head injuries and even more commonly a stroke. However Aphasias can also develop slowly in patients with a brain tumor, infection or dementia. As I mentioned earlier there are several different types of Aphasias the two the book has covered are called Broca's aphasia and Wernicke's aphasia. Each of these are catergorize as two types of aphasia non-fluent, which is the person has difficulty articulating but can easily comprehend, and fluent aphasia, which is when a person has diffculty comprehending but are able to speak fluently.

Broca's aphasia is caused by damage to the frontal lobe and is known as a non-fluent type of aphasia. People we suffer from Broca's aphasia generally have labored and stilted speech and can only speak in short sentences. For example a person suffering with Broca's would say "walk dog" instead of something like "I will take the dog for a walk" because generally they tend to omit small words like is, and, and the. Eventhough they are able to speak small sentences these sentences take great effort to conjure up. People who suffer with Broca's aphasia can comprehend what others are saying however because they can understand they notice their difficulties speaking and could easily become frustrated. Below is a video that shows a patient suffering from Broca's aphasia. She is only 19 years old, I found these videos on youtube.com while searching for information about aphasia and I found her story interesting. Eventhough I haven't personally had an experience with aphasia I had a connection with this young women who is the same age as I, difficulty with speaking.

The next type of aphasia our book discusses is Wernicke's aphasia. This type of aphasia is considered a fluent aphasia. Werinicke's is caused by damage to the language dominant portion of your temporal lobe. It is considered a fluent aphasia because people suffering with this generally can speak in long, uninterrupted sentences but often times the words are usually unnecessary or at times made-up. Their speach is fluent but rather disorganized and not meaningful. The problem most people who suffer from Wernicke's aphasia is they have great difficulty understanding what other people are saying. Sometimes people can't even recognize any type of spoken language, people with an extreme condition of Wernicke's also suffer from word deafness which means he or she can not recognize any words. eventhough they ability to hear the tones is still intact. Unlike Broca's aphasia i did not find any videos I found truly inspiring but here is an example of what a patient with Wernicke's aphasia communicates like.

There are many other forms of aphasia our book does not discuss such as global, conduction, and transcortical aphasia. Global aphasia is damage to several language areas of your brain, conduction aphasia is uncommon but is when someone has the inability to repeat words and phrases. The last one transcortical aphasia is caused by damage to language areas of the left hemisphere of your brain and is broken into three types transcortical motor, sensory, and mixed. Although aphasia is a terrible thing to deal with it can often times be improved with practice. Much like Sarah from the videos above most skills lost with aphasia can be rediscovered when working with a speech and language therapist. This process is long and can take up to two or more years but it is most effective when begun as soon as possible. Aphasia is something I have never been aware of but now find very interesting. I did not know that aphasia was a side effect of a stroke which I have learned a lot about working with severely mentally and physically handicap individuals who are prone to strokes. I was debating on doing this topic but after watching the videos of Sarah's improvement I decided to look further into it.


  1. This is an interesting post. I would like to learn more about these types of disabilities and their causes. I was watching the videos of the 19 year old girl that had a stroke and I saw throughout them she was improving. Watching her facial expressions as the videos went on made me connect with her because I felt how hard it was for her to collect her thoughts and express them. It made me understand better how difficult it is for people affected by stroke to communicate.
    Recently I was over my great-grandmom's house talking to her about her brothers and sisters. She told me about her one brother who had a stroke and after the stroke his wife was the only one who could understand him. Years later when his wife died he became depressed because he couldn't communicate with anyone and he committed suicide. Hearing that made me feel empathy for him because I couldn't imagine how hard it must me to know that what you are trying to express, no one can understand.

  2. This is a very interesting topic and post. It's kind of like a type of Alzheimer's Disease that can happen after a terrible incident. It's scary that someone who is 19 years old has trouble remembering her name and how old she is. The progress she is making is great though, and I hope that she continues to prosper. The last video is also interesting in how the patient knew how to say "cigarette" correctly, but every item after that was jumbled. I wonder if certain words are more recognizable than others.