Today, we learned about words that are hard when speaking isn’t right because brains and words and sometimes the sounds aren’t coming.

That’s what this post might sound like if someone with aphasia wrote it.


Trouble speaking

Language processing in the brain:

Four main components of linguistics part of the brain

  • Angular Gyrus – helps with mapping visual inputs to linguistic representations
  • Broca’s Area – Region in the frontal lobe of the dominant hemisphere linked speech production and believed to help with comprehension
  • Wernicke’s Area – Posterior section of the superior temporal gyrus linked to speech comprehension (relates words – if I say ‘river’ and you think ‘bank’)

Paul Broca (1824 – 1880)

  • Born and lived in France
  • Son of a surgeon working for Napoleon
  • Autopsied the brains of people with aphasia and found they had lesions in the Broca’s area

o   Motive: see whether functions are localized in the brain

  • Marc Dax made similar observations a generation earlier

Carl Wernicke (1848 – 1905)

  • Born and lived in Germany
  • Heard about Broca’s work
  • Found Wernicke’s area

There are a lot of types of aphasia (many just describing)

  • Fluent/Expressive aphasia – can’t understand but can speak (Wernicke’s area affected)
  • Non-fluent/Receptive aphasia – speech production is hard but they can understand (Broca’s area affected)
  • Primary progressive aphasia – chronic condition caused by neurodegenerative diseases
  • Transient aphasia – temporarily causes garbled and mumbled speech

Some more classifications:

  • Mixed non-fluent
  • Atomic
  • Global

There are two types of treatment. One tries to repair the impairment, stimulating specific language skills. This one constraints the patient and forces the patient to use spoken language. The other wants to enhance communication by any means. For one example, it goes through scripted conversations to practice communication skills.

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