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Sharp Health News

The lingering effects of stroke

June 29, 2017

The lingering effects of stroke

Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Across Sharp HealthCare, there is one new stroke patient every four to six hours.

There are several manifestations of stroke – one of the most common is aphasia.

“Aphasia is a communication disorder that results from damage to specific areas of the brain that contain language,” explains Dr. Jim Coskun, a neurologist affiliated with Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. “Stroke is the leading cause of aphasia.”

Forms of aphasia
According to Dr. Coskun, there can be different types of aphasia depending on the region of the brain that has been injured. The three most well-known types are:

  • Broca’s aphasia: comprehension is mildly impaired, but there is significant difficulty in linking words together and talking
  • Wernicke’s aphasia: severe impairment to comprehension with normal-sounding speech
  • Global aphasia: most severe impairment in which patients have no comprehension nor speech

Therapy to improve aphasia
“Predicting post-stroke aphasia recovery is complicated and different for each person,” says Dr. Coskun. “Studies have determined that location of the stroke, size of injury, aphasia type and severity of symptoms play significant roles in determining the probability of recovery.”

There are many therapies to improve aphasia; however, constraint induced therapies (CIT) have received more attention over the last few years. CIT examines the idea that many disabled stroke survivors will learn to avoid using the area that is impaired and compensate with other areas that are still functioning normally. For example, if they cannot talk properly due to aphasia, they will try to write instead. Challenges associated with CIT include a patient’s ability to cooperate and the high intensity commitment of several hours a day.

“Technology is changing the lives of aphasia sufferers,” says Dr. Coskun. “In the last 10 years, there has been a dramatic increase in assistive technology, including apps for cellphones and tablets, talking devices and specialized keyboards, among others. It’s advancements like these that will help and continue to help those suffering from aphasia and their loved ones.”

For the news media: To talk with Dr. Coskun about aphasia for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at erica.carlson@sharp.com.

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