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Wernicke's Aphasia Disorder Essay

1976 words - 8 pages

Wernicke’s Aphasia

Wernicke’s Aphasia
Background
Aphasia can be defined as a disorder that is caused by damage to parts of the brain that are responsible for language (“Aphasia” n.p.). Wernicke’s aphasia is a type of fluent aphasia (with the other type being nonfluent). It is named after Carl Wernicke who described the disorder as “an amnesiac disorder characterized by fluent but disordered speech, with a similar disorder in writing, and impaired understanding of oral speech and reading” (“Wernicke’s” n.p.). Wernicke’s aphasia can also be known as sensory aphasia, fluent aphasia, or receptive aphasia. It is a type of aphasia that is caused by damage to Wernicke’s area in the brain, in the posterior part of the temporal lobe of the left hemisphere. This area of the brain contains motor neurons responsible for the understanding of spoken language and is believed to be the receptive language center (“Rogers” n.p.). Wernicke’s aphasia can be most efficiently defined as a fluent language disorder commonly caused by strokes and characterized by difficulty comprehending spoken language and producing meaningful speech and writing which is both assessable by an SLP and treatable by a variety of methods.
Etiology
The onset of aphasia is extremely quick. It usually is found in people who have no former history of speech or language problems. The lesion leaves the affected area of the brain unable to function as it did only moments before (Owens 203).Wernicke’s aphasia is caused by damage to Wernicke’s area which can result from head injury, brain tumors, infections, dementia, or the most common cause, stroke. A posterior stroke that is isolated to Wernicke’s area does not result in total weakness of the arm and leg on the opposite side. Depending on where the brain has been damaged, there may be some weakness experienced but the limbs will be able to be used just like before the stroke (“What” n.p.). Because Wernicke’s aphasia is most often brought on by a stroke, this disorder is mostly prevalent in the elderly, however it can be found among children. Men and women are equally affected by Wernicke’s aphasia. About 80,000 people get aphasia each year as a result of strokes, and it is believed that about one million people in the United States currently suffer from aphasia (“aphasia” n.p.).
Prognosis
Wernicke’s aphasia results not in a loss of speech, but in a loss of speech content. Someone with a less severe form of Wernicke’s aphasia may only insert a few incorrect or nonexistent words into their speech, while someone with a severe form may ramble on, using only jargon, meaningless or irrelevant speech with typical intonational patterns. The rate, intonation, articulation, and stress of speech remain normal and unaffected (“Types” n.p.). Comprehension and expression of speech tend to be impaired equally. If one ignores the content, the speech of a patient with Wernicke’s aphasia would seem normal. They speak in long, well-formed sentences,...

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