Bruce Willis, whose quips have become a trademark of action flicks, is reportedly retiring after learning he has aphasia, a neurological illness that affects language and speech. On social media, Willis’s loved ones expressed concern that the actor was experiencing “cognitive” difficulties as a result of his recent illness.
Johns Hopkins Medicine posits that the condition originates in injury to the left hemisphere’s language center (opens in new tab). Stroke, brain injury, tumor, infection, dementia, and other conditions can all cause similar damage to the brain.
Its symptoms, which include trouble with speech and cognition, might appear quickly after a stroke or head trauma, or gradually due to a brain tumor or degenerative disease.
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What is Aphasia?
An acquired loss of linguistic abilities is known as aphasia. This is different from simply being unable to talk, for instance, which could result from the tongue- or lip paralysis. Speaking and writing, comprehension, or listening and reading would all be included.
What Are The Specific Symptoms Of Aphasia?
There are instances when we all forget a word or name. Simply put, that makes sense. This may be even more noticeable and pronounced in a person with aphasia. People have trouble finding the right term.
There will be those who have the mental construct of a sentence but discover they are unable to articulate it. Some people with aphasia don’t realize they have it, but they nevertheless have trouble communicating with others.
It’s not only that they can’t follow along with the dialogue, as in “Oh, I just wasn’t paying attention.” It’s possible that “I am not recognizing this word that I previously would have known quite well” is actually accurate.
Perhaps that’s a well-known brand, or it could be something mundane like, oh no, coffee. As well as stating, “I need the thing.” True aphasia, in my opinion, will manifest itself not only in spoken language but also in written and read language.
Diseases that solely affect one’s ability to communicate are possible. While aphasia is defined as the inability to communicate in speech and writing, there are illnesses that just affect written expression.
— ET Canada (@ETCanada) March 30, 2022
Types of Aphasia
Both the location and severity of the injury to the language-using side of the brain determine the specific form of aphasia a person experiences. Broca’s aphasia, Wernicke’s aphasia, and global aphasia are the three main subtypes.
- Broca’s aphasia is caused by injury to the prefrontal cortex, which regulates both the expression and comprehension of language. People with this type of aphasia may have difficulty forming complete phrases, and they may avoid words like “and” and “the.”
- Wernicke aphasia is caused by injury to the side of the brain that controls language. In this condition, sufferers express difficulty understanding others and often use jargon and convoluted language themselves.
- Damage to a sizable area of the hemisphere of the brain responsible for language results in a global aphasia. People with global aphasia have trouble with both speaking and understanding language.
Causes And Treatment
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), aphasia is caused by damage to the brain’s language centers and can be the result of a head accident, an infection, a tumor, or a degenerative brain illness like dementia.
But stroke is by far the leading cause of this illness. According to the National Aphasia Association, aphasia affects between 25 and 40 percent of stroke survivors, with the elderly being at the greatest risk.
What Are The Treatment Options For Aphasia?
Yes, it makes sense to address the fundamental cause. Stopping more strokes in the event that this is a stroke is a priority. You would start there. Recovery from any form of aphasia relies heavily on speech therapy.
The specifics of the aphasia will guide how the therapy is developed and administered. For instance, it would be counterproductive to approach receptive aphasia in the same way as expressive aphasia.
You won’t find any similarities between the two. Of course, this is another example of generalization. Experts will investigate aphasia’s root causes in greater detail so they can fine-tune treatment.
Extras include things like communication skills for loved ones to use while interacting with a person who has aphasia. Multiple effective modes of interaction between speakers exist. In most cases, a more efficient approach can be identified.
Support groups, monitoring one’s emotional state, preserving the highest possible quality of life, and a secure environment are all coping mechanisms that can be utilized.
I believe it is critical to emphasize that despite the fact that aphasia is a highly frustrating disorder, people can still accomplish a great deal despite their condition. Language is often the only cognitive ability aphasia affects.
Indeed, some persons who have aphasia are fully capable of operating a motor vehicle. As long as they can coordinate their obligations with their desired outings, they can continue to accomplish the things they enjoy.