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Broca's aphasia

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Broca's aphasia 

Paul Broca was able to accurately described patients characterized by the sudden lack of the ability to speak, and a right hemiparesis with Broca’s aphasia. In 1865, he theorized that this was due to damage to a language area in the brain. When the patients died, he was able to exam the area of the brain responsible for language.  This discovery launched the notion that the brain was laterilized and compartmentalized. 


Broca’s aphasia is an acquired nonfluent aphasia.  Individuals with Broca's aphasia have damage to the left frontal lobe of the brain. These individuals frequently speak in short, meaningful phrases that are produced with great effort. Affected people often omit small words such as "is," "and," and "the." For example, a person with Broca's aphasia may say, "Walk dog" meaning, "I will take the dog for a walk." The same sentence could also mean "You take the dog for a walk," or "The dog walked out of the yard," depending on the circumstances. Broca's aphasics struggle to speak more than one word at a time but shows signs of enormous effort.  Here is another example of a Broca's aphasic speech: Yes ... ah ... Monday ... er Dad and Peter H ... (his own name), and Dad ... er hospital ... and ah ... Wednesday ... Wednesday nine o'clock ... and oh ... Thursday ... ten o'clock, ah doctors ... two ... an' doctors ... and er ... teeth ... yah.  This passage shows the difficulty in interpreting a patient with Broca's aphasia. This particular aphasic may be trying to explain that he has a dental appointment at the hospital, or that his dad had an appointment.

However, amazingly the Broca's aphasic comprehension level is less impaired.  Individuals with Broca's aphasia are able to understand the speech of others to varying degrees. Because of this, they are often aware of their difficulties and can become easily frustrated by their speaking problems. Patients with Broca’s aphasia comprehend spoken and written language better than they speak or write, although they are slow readers.  Patients with Broca’s aphasia tend to be excruciatingly aware of their physical and communicative impairments and are easily upset by failed communication attempts, sometimes to the point of emotional outbursts.   These patients often write as they speak, slow and laboriously.  Their written language typically consists of a string of isolated content words sprinkled with misspellings and distortions of omissions of letters.  The patients with Broca’s aphasia are cooperative and task oriented in testing and treatment activities.  They are good at remembering treatment procedures and goals from day to day and may spontaneously generalize the skills and strategies acquired in treatment and daily environments. 



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