Aphasia

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Aphasia (pronounced /əˈfeɪʒə/ or pronounced /əˈfeɪziə/), from the Greek root word "aphatos", meaning speechless, is an acquired language disorder in which there is an impairment of any language modality. This may include difficulty in producing or comprehending spoken or written language.

Traditionally, aphasia suggests the total impairment of language ability, and dysphasia a degree of impairment less than total. However, the term dysphasia is commonly confused with dysphagia, a swallowing disorder, and thus aphasia has come to mean both partial and total language impairment in common use.

Depending on the area and extent of brain damage, someone suffering from aphasia may be able to speak but not write, or vice versa, or display any of a wide variety of other deficiencies in language comprehension and production, such as being able to sing but not speak. Aphasia may co-occur with speech disorders such as dysarthria or apraxia of speech, which also result from brain damage.

Aphasia can be assessed in a variety of ways, from quick clinical screening at the bedside to several-hour-long batteries of tasks that examine the key components of language and communication. The prognosis of those with aphasia varies widely, and is dependent upon age of the patient, site and size of lesion, and type of aphasia.

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