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. (Source: U.S Department of Health and Human Services - National Institutes of Health; Page Name: Project Information; Report Title: Speech and Language Processing in Aphasia; URL: http://projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_description.cfm?icde=0&aid=7738889
2. New Aphasia Therapy Research – This is an ongoing research conducted by the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit of Cambridge University, U.K. It is a comparative study aimed looking at the differences in the effects of the new dimension of aphasia treatment known as intensive language action therapy or constraint-induced aphasia therapy, when compared to conventional language and speech therapy offered to chronic aphasia patients. It also aims to establish a short-term therapy as well as identify any factors which may be predictors of successful outcomes of such a study and therapy. (Source: Aphasia Now, Article Title: New Aphasia Therapy Research (May 2011); URL: http://www.aphasianow.org/Resources/Aphasia_Research/
3. Metaphor Training Project – This project was conducted by Hiram Brownell of Boston College and Kristine Lundgren of Boston University. Its target population were those who suffered from aphasia after brain stroke or traumatic brain injury. Patients with these two causes of aphasia typically experience a specific type of range of communication impairments impacting their lives in negative ways. The study was aimed at evaluating and remediating:
a. The difficulty of generating appropriate associations to words
b. The difficulty of evaluating connotative shared meaning
c. The difficulty of selecting from among alternative interpretations
Lastly, the ground-breaking study also examined the changes of intensity and duration of training programs on gains made by patients as well as devised approaches in slowing the decline of linguistic skills. (Source: eShow2000.com; Report Title: ‘Remediation of Metaphor Comprehension Deficits: A Pilot Study’; Author(s): Kristine Lundgren, Hiram Brownell, Carol Cayer-Meade, Soma Roy; URL: http://www.eshow2000.com/asha/2006/handouts/855_1044Lundgren_Kristine_057450_111306124525.pdf)
Reviewed June 1, 2011
Edited by Alison Stanton
INFORMATION IN THIS ARTICLE IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. ALL INFORMATION GIVEN IS TO BE CHECKED WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE IMPLEMENTING OR TAKING THEM AS STANDARD OR VERIFIED.
Mamta Singh is a published author of the books Migraines for the Informed Woman (Publisher: Rupa & Co. URL: http://www.amazon.com/Migraines-Informed-Woman-Tips-Sufferer/dp/8129115174/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298990756&sr=1-2), the upcoming Rev Up Your Life! (Publisher: Hay House India) and Mentor Your Mind (Publisher: Sterling Publishers). She is also a seasoned business, creative and academic writer. She is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer & sports nutritionist through IFA, Florida USA. Mamta is an NCFE-certified Holistic Health Therapist SAC Dip U.K. She is the lead writer and holds Expert Author status in many well-received health, fitness and nutrition sites. She runs her own popular blogs on migraines in women and holistic health. Mamta holds a double Master's Degree in Commerce and Business. She is a registered practitioner with the UN recognised Art of Living Foundation. Please visit www.mamtasingh.com