Aphasia is “an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write.” (Source: The National Aphasia Association; Page Title: More Aphasia Facts; URL: http://www.aphasia.org/Aphasia%20Facts/aphasia_facts.html).
Though aphasia does not affect the intelligence of a person, it does present challenges to those who are afflicted with it, in regards to their ability to communicate with those around them. Their language processing skills--for example, the ability to read, write, listen, speak and get understood--gets adversely affected, including their ability to understand others.
A few cases of aphasia are congenital but most are acquired--caused as an after effect of stroke, brain hemorrhage, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, tumor in the brain, or lesions in the frontal, temporal and parietal lobes of the brain. As per the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), it is believed that that in U.S alone, one million people, or one in every 272 persons, are affected by aphasia. (Source: CureResearch.com; Report Title: NINDS Aphasia Information Page: NINDS; URL: http://www.cureresearch.com/artic/ninds_aphasia_information_page_ninds.htm)
Research on Aphasia has made it possible for patients to lead improved lives with better control of their language and comprehension skills through a combination of linguistic and drug therapy. Let’s take a look at what is new in the field of research for the condition:
1. Speech and Language Processing in Aphasia - This research was led by Dr. Sheila Blumstein of Brown University. It studied anatomy and architecture of the part of the brain which is involved in cognitive skills and is affected by onset of aphasia. It also studied over a period of 11 years those parts of the brain which were spared in aphasic patients with a view to examine the neural systems of lexical processing. It mapped the effects of sound-to-meaning in auditory word recognition and from meaning-to-sound in spoken word production. It helped develop some breakthroughs in linguistic therapy development and delivery.