Aphasia Explained: Language is a powerful engine of human expression, it is at the heart of what it means to be human. It directs how we allocate visual attention, categorize objects, construe and remember events, encode musical tones, stay oriented, reason time, perform mental tasks, make financial decisions, express and experience emotions, and on and on. Broca’s area directs the processes that lead to speech utterance, and Wernicke’s area's role is to decode speech.
The recent announcement of Bruce Willis' retirement following his diagnosis with Aphasia has raised a need for awareness of the debilitating condition.
Aphasia is the loss of the ability to communicate or use language due to brain damage brought on by injury or disease.
General symptoms of aphasia may include:
*Speaking in short or incomplete sentences
*Speaking or writing in sentences that don't make sense to the listener
*Substituting words or sounds that are similar
*Using unrecognizable words
As per Mayo Clinic, the types of aphasia include:
-Broca or expressive aphasia is being able to understand better than one is able to speak. One might speak in short sentences and leave words out, which could lead to frustration at the communication gap
-Comprehensive or Wernicke aphasia causes a pattern of long sentences with extra or unnecessary words, which might confuse the listener. A person with comprehensive aphasia may not understand the language well and may also lack the realization that others can't understand them.
-Global aphasia is characterized by difficulty in forming words and sentences as well as poor comprehension. It is due to extensive damage to the areas of the brain which process language inhibiting expressing and understanding language
-The other types include Anomic aphasia, primary progressive aphasia, and mixed non-fluent aphasia.
Treatment: The course of treatment for aphasia includes Speech and language therapy, and sometimes symptoms of aphasia improve without treatment. There is also medication that is to be discussed with doctors.
Educating oneself is a way of exercising empathy for people suffering from this condition.