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What’s New in Aphasia Research

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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.

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Hi Anonymous,

I am sorry to hear of your injury leading to aphasia.

I am not qualified to give medical opinion or advice. Yet from what I know there are speech and language therapy techniques available as well as techniques like transcranial stimulation.

As far as medicines are concerned your doctor will prescribe them as per your specific symptoms and medical history.

There are formulations of bromocriptine, donepezil (known to enhance cognitive skills). Experiments have been conducted with  dopaminergic, cholinergic, and stimulant drugs and some benefits have been observed . SSRI antidepressants have also proved beneficial in some cases. However, your doctor is the best bet on these since the medicines may have contraindication literature (not to be had with certain other medicines or under certain health conditions) and undesirable side-effect caveats.

I hope this helps in some way and I wish you a quick recovery.


January 16, 2012 - 9:06pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am looking for answers. I was extremely high functioning both physically and mentally, court reporter, the ability to listen, remember, retain and write simultaneously 200 plus words per minute. I was also an elite marathon runner. Was rear ended while stopped at a light. Me, a small car, him a truck going in excess of 45 miles per hour. Was diagnosed with a concussion, told would be myself in a year. eventually diagnosed with brain stem injury and aphasia, dropped toes. I do have some physical injuries, but the brain injury is of most concern. I have difficulty understanding what is being said, use captioning on TV, reading out loud, writing and even when hearing the words understanding simply the concept of what is said. In my head the knowledge is there, but cannot access the intelligence when speaking, don't know what things are called, people's names. I do have short term and some long term memory loss and fatigue. Sometimes I just hear bits of words, but it seems music my brain hears all the instruments almost separately, little noises. I am on nuvigil. Are there any new meds out there?

January 16, 2012 - 1:37pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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