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What is aphasia, this disease suffered by actor Bruce Willis

A while ago, actor Bruce Willis announced he was “taking a step back” from his career after being diagnosed with aphasic, a disorder caused by damage to regions of the brain involved in understanding and expressing language. Rumer Willis, the daughter of Willis and Demi Moore, revealed in an Instagram post that her father’s diagnosis “is impacting her cognitive abilities. »

Aphasia can make it harder to write, speak, and understand language. Most often, aphasia occurs suddenly after a stroke or brain injury. Sometimes it can also develop over time as a result of a slowly growing brain tumor. The signs and symptoms of aphasia can vary depending on the part of the brain damaged and the extent of the damage. Aphasia can impact expressive language, that is, the ease with which a person can put words and sentences together to communicate orally or in writing, and receptive language, that is, the ease with which a person understands what he hears or reads.

Types of aphasia

There are several types of aphasia, depending on which part of the brain is affected. Here are a few :

Non-fluent aphasia

This form of aphasia is also called Broca’s aphasia, in which the left frontal area of ​​the brain is affected. Speech is severely affected in people with nonfluent aphasia, often limited to short utterances of less than four words. Vocabulary is limited and sufferers have to make great efforts to form sounds. People with Broca’s aphasia are often able to understand speech and read well, but their writing and speaking abilities can be severely affected.

Fluid aphasia

People with fluid aphasia tend to speak easily and fluently in long, complex sentences, but these sentences don’t make sense or include unrecognizable or incorrect words. This condition, also called Wernicke’s aphasia, robs people of their ability to fully understand spoken language, and they do not realize that others cannot understand them. Wernicke’s aphasia is caused by damage to the left middle side of the brain.

Global aphasia

This is the most severe form of aphasia, in which affected individuals can say only a few unrecognizable words and understand little or no spoken language. The ability to read and write has disappeared. People with global aphasia have significant brain damage, usually due to a stroke.

Non-fluent mixed aphasia

This condition resembles Broca’s aphasia, in which patients have limited language. But unlike Broca’s aphasia, these patients also have difficulty understanding speech, as well as reading and writing.

Anomic aphasia

This form of aphasia occurs when people are unable to find the words for the things they want to talk about or write, especially nouns and meaningful verbs. Their speech is fluent and grammatically correct, but they speak with vague expressions. They understand speech fairly well and, in most cases, can read.

Symptoms of Aphasia

Aphasia is a sign of an underlying disease, such as a stroke.

Symptoms of aphasia are:

– Speak in short or incomplete sentences
– talking in a way that makes no sense or saying unrecognizable words
– Substitute one word or sound for another
– not understanding what others are saying
– write words or sentences that make no sense.

Main causes of aphasia

Aphasia frequently occurs after brain injury and most commonly after stroke. A stroke is caused either by a blood clot (ischemic stroke) or by bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). Blood loss to one area of ​​the brain can lead to damage or death of brain cells in areas that control language. Other, less common causes may be at the root of this condition, including a brain tumor or progressive neurological disease.

Migraine can cause transient aphasia, usually during the aura phase of a migraine attack, which precedes or overlaps with the headache phase.

Aphasia treatments

Treatment usually focuses on improving language and communication skills. Patients can work with a speech therapist on exercises to improve reading, speaking, writing, and comprehension. If unsuccessful, patients can also learn to communicate through other methods, such as pointing to cards with words or pictures, using smartphone apps to facilitate communication or generate speech, or using other types of assistive technologies.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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