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Global aphasia

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The symptoms of global aphasia are those of severe Broca's aphasia and Wernicke's aphasia combined. There is an almost total reduction of all aspects of spoken and written language, in expression as well as comprehension. Improvement may occur in one or both areas (expressive and receptive) over time with rehabilitation. What is interesting to point out is that in patients of global aphasia other cognitive skills remain functioning - a phenomenon affirming that language faculty is indeed a separate domain.

Global aphasia is a type of aphasia that is usually associated with a large lesion in the presylvian area. It involves a "left side blowout" which includes Broca's area, Wernicke's area and the Arcuate fasciculus.

When injury initially occurs to all of these areas, the progression starts out with Global aphasia in the first 1-2 days due brain swelling (edema). From there it evolves into Brocas or Wernicke's aphasia for 1-3 months (usually Broca's), then it resolves into a presidual anomic aphasia. Studies show that spontaneous improvement, if it happens, occurs within six months, but complete recovery is rare.

Persons with global aphasia are usually mute or use repetitive vocalization. The person frequently uses simple words such as expletives. They are marked by a severe impairment of both understanding and expression of language.


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