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Language disorders aphasia Broca's aphasia Wernicke's aphasia global aphasia nominal aphasia conduction aphasia causes of aphasia diagnosis of aphasia treatment for aphasia prognosis of aphasia

What is Wernicke's aphasia?

Wernicke's aphasia is caused by damage to the side portion or temporal lobe of the language-dominant area of the brain. Individuals with Wernicke's aphasia speak in long, uninterrupted sentences; however, the words used are frequently unnecessary or even made-up. They have a great deal of difficulty understanding other people's speech, sometimes to the point of being unable to understand spoken language at all. Reading ability is diminished, and although writing ability is retained, what is written may be abnormal. No physical symptoms, such as the right-sided weakness seen with Broca's

aphasia, are typically observed. Also, in contrast to Broca's aphasia, individuals with Wernicke's aphasia are not aware of their language errors. Speech is preserved but language content is incorrect. This may vary from the insertion of a few incorrect or nonexistent words to a profuse outpouring of jargon. Rate, intonation and stress are normal. Substitutions of one word for another ("telephone" --> "television") are common. Comprehension and repetition are poor.

Wernicke's aphasics have different types of symptoms. Individuals with Wernicke's aphasia speak extremely fluently but with no informative purpose. In this respect, Wernicke's aphasia is known as "fluent aphasia". An example of a Wernicke's aphasic speaking is as follows: Well this is .... mother is away here working her work out o'here to get her better, but when she's looking, the two boys looking in other part. One their small tile into her time here. She's working another time because she's getting, too. Clearly, the aphasic has problems expressing his thoughts to their audience. The sentence structure does not follow correct grammatical patterns, and ultimately, there is no meaning. Moreover, their comprehension level is more reduced than a patient with Broca's aphasia. In the same case studies by Caramaza and Zurif with Broca's aphasics, in which irreversible and reversible nouns were placed in sentences, Wernicke's aphasics tested poorly on both occasions. Thus, Wernicke's aphasics have lost a majority of their comprehension ability.

More information on aphasia

What is aphasia? - Aphasia is a defect or loss of language function in which the comprehension or expression of words (or nonverbal equivalents of words) is impaired as a result of brain injury.
What is Broca's aphasia? - Broca's aphasia, also called motor aphasia, results from damage to the front portion or frontal lobe of the language-dominant area of the brain.
What is Wernicke's aphasia? - Wernicke's aphasia is caused by damage to the side portion or temporal lobe of the language-dominant area of the brain.
What is global aphasia? - Global aphasia is caused by widespread damage to the language areas of the left hemisphere. As a result, all basic language functions are affected.
What is nominal aphasia? - Nominal aphasia is a form of aphasia in which the subject has difficulty remembering or recognizing names which the subject should know well.
What is conduction aphasia? - Conduction aphasia is a relatively rare form of aphasia, caused by damage to the nerve fibres connecting Wernicke's and Broca's areas.
What causes aphasia? - Aphasia is caused by damage to one or more of the language areas of the brain. This damage affects one or more of the basic language functions.
How is aphasia diagnosed? - Commonly used tests to diagnose aphasia include the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination, the Western Aphasia Battery, and possibly, the Porch Index of Speech Ability.
What's the treatment for aphasia? - Aphasia treatment therapy strives to improve an individual's ability to communicate by helping the person to use remaining abilities, to restore language abilities.
What's the prognosis of aphasia? - The outcome of aphasia is difficult to predict given the wide range of variability of the condition. The location of the injury is important and is clue to prognosis.
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005