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What is aphasia?

Aphasia is a disorder resulting from damage to the cerebral cortex, and it affects communication. While the person with aphasia retains intellect, his or her ability to read, write, understand spoken and written language, and speak or find words when communicating is impaired. There are varying severities of aphasia as well as different types of aphasia, depending on where in the brain the injury has occurred.

Aphasia is a neurological disorder caused by damage to the portions of the brain that are responsible for language. Primary signs of the disorder include difficulty in expressing oneself when speaking, trouble understanding speech, and difficulty with reading and writing. Aphasia is not a disease, but a symptom of brain damage. Most commonly seen in adults who have suffered a stroke, aphasia can also result from a brain tumor, infection, head injury, or dementia that damages the brain. It is estimated that about one million people in the United States today suffer from aphasia. The type and severity of language dysfunction depends on the precise location and extent of the damaged brain tissue.

Aphasia can be divided into four broad categories: (1) Expressive aphasia involves difficulty in conveying thoughts through speech or writing. The patient knows what he wants to say, but cannot find the words he needs. (2) Receptive aphasia involves difficulty understanding spoken or written language. The patient hears the voice or sees the print, but cannot make sense of the words. (3) Patients with anomic or amnesia aphasia, the least severe form of aphasia, have difficulty in using the correct names for particular objects, people, places, or events. (4) Global aphasia results from severe and extensive damage to the language areas of the brain. Patients lose almost all language function, both comprehension and expression. They cannot speak or understand speech, nor can they read or write.

This answer is based on source information from National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Aphasia is the term for language dysfunction duu to stroke. Some people with aphasia have trouble talking but can easily understand speech. Others talk easily but can't understand what people are saying. Aphasia is a common problem, especially when a stroke has damaged the left side of the brain, where language is processed. Some people with aphasia get better quickly, but even with speech therapy, others continue to have trouble speaking, finding words, reading, writing, or doing math (the same area of the brain that controls language also governs math skills).
Aphasia is caused by damage to the parts of the brain that control language.  In most people this is on the left side of the brain (the side that controls movement of the right side of the body).  There are different kinds of aphasia. Aphasias can cause the loss of the ability to speak or write normally, or understand what is being said.

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