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Alzheimer’s Disease and Speech Problems

Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Neurology is one of the most mysterious branches of medicine. However, doctors can solve the most challenging diseases with modern medical methods and the latest technologies. One of these disorders is Alzheimer’s disease which can change our brain.

This disease can happen to each of us. After all, it appears regardless of age, gender and lifestyle. Alzheimer’s is known to occur due to the abnormal accumulation of specific proteins in brain cells and intercellular space. It begins with a gradual deterioration of memory and loss of speech due to the appearance of dementia. Thus, this disease progresses and eventually turns into aphasia and dementia

Dementia is a syndrome that can be caused by many factors, one of which is Alzheimer’s. It is characterized by memory loss. Aphasia is the absence or impairment of speech. People with aphasia start using the wrong words when speaking, and over time, it gets worse.

So, when Alzheimer’s is suspected, the necessary cognitive tests and laboratory examinations are carried out to clarify the disease in more detail.

 

What is Aphasia?

Aphasia is a neurological disease with which a person has speech problems. And these can be not only pronunciation problems but also trouble with understanding what others are saying. Why do such problems appear? It is connected with the affection of aphasia in some areas of the brain. Although the organs of breathing, vocalization, and speech articulation typically appear during aphasia, the desire to speak is significantly impaired due to damage to the speech centers in the cerebral cortex. 

The course of the disease and the rate of development of disorders depends on the reason that caused it. It may be a consequence of Alzheimer’s, after which speech patterns change for the worse. Also, it can occur due to head injuries or certain mental illnesses.

What is aphasia

CT scanning and MRI are carried out in neuropsychological studies to establish a diagnosis of aphasia. In addition, it is necessary to consult a speech therapist, who will conduct an assessment and diagnosis of aphasia. It will test language comprehension, speaking, reading, writing, and arithmetic. And then, the diagnosis is established based on clinical symptoms. 

The prognosis of the disorder depends on the degree of brain damage and the patient’s age. In general, there are many types of aphasia. So, to determine the specific type, doctors must conduct a head examination to understand in which cortical areas the damage is located. It can be:

  • The posterior superior temporal lobe
  • The adjacent lower parietal lobe
  • The posterior lower part of the frontal cortex
  • The subcortical connections between these departments

Damage to any of these parts will result in trouble finding words and speech in general.

 

Symptoms of Aphasia

The main sign of aphasia is a violation of the speech process. All other symptoms depend on the place of development of this disorder in the cerebral cortex – the type of aphasia. Although each type has different signs and manifestations of the disease, some symptoms are the same regardless of the kind. And among them are:

 

Symptoms that affect communication: Symptoms that affect speech perception: Aphasia affects:
using wrong words when speaking; difficulty understanding the language of other people; writing;
difficulty naming objects or people; misunderstanding the meaning of phrases consisting of combinations of words; reading;
the appearance of long pauses in speech; long recalling of the meaning of spoken words; understanding;
mixing words up; difficulty after a rapid speech; talking;
steady repetition of words or phrases; quick forgetting of what is said; composing words and sentences;
difficulty word finding; misunderstanding of the general opinion of others; realizing the meaning of what was said;

 

In aphasia, symptoms can manifest in different ways. If the disease is caused by immediate damage to the brain, the symptoms will appear suddenly. But if there is gradual damage to the cerebral cortex, the symptoms will appear slowly. When the signs quickly worsen, it can lead to loss of speech due to dementia. In general, dementia, aphasia, and Alzheimer’s diseases are closely related and affect speech patterns. So, it is sometimes difficult to make a diagnosis due to the similarity of symptoms, and doctors must observe additional signs to find out a disease. In aphasia, additional signs may include the inability to control facial muscles.

 

Types and Causes

Types and causes of aphasia

The causes of aphasia are diverse, but they all arise in conditions of brain injury:

  • Cranioencephalic injury
  • Tumors of the central nervous system
  • Degenerative processes
  • Stroke (the most common cause of aphasia)
  • Degenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, etc.)
  • Localized or diffuse brain infections

 

As you can see, aphasia can be caused by many factors. Accordingly, there are as many types of aphasia as there are causes. There are about 20 types of this disease, but 6 main ones are distinguished among them:

 

1. Wernicke’s Aphasia

It occurs as a result of a lesion in the left temporal lobe. Symptoms include long sentences containing meaningless, made-up phrases with mixing words up.

 

2. Motor Transcortical Aphasia

It results from damage to the front upper part of the cerebral hemisphere. Reveals problems associated with a deficit in language production, but language comprehension remains unchanged.

 

3. Conductive Aphasia

It is caused by damage to the parietal lobe of the brain. This disease is characterized by free, spontaneous language and good comprehension, but with poor repetition, which is characterized by the presence of literal paraphasias.

 

4. Broca’s Aphasia

It occurs due to damage to areas of the left frontal lobe. The disease is characterized by word finding difficulty and non-fluent expressive language, with poor articulation consisting of short, ungrammatical phrases.

 

5. Global Aphasia

It is caused by injuries in the areas that control speech. It is characterized by trouble finding words and severe language speech, including speaking, comprehension, and writing problems.

 

6. Amnestic or Anomic Aphasia

It is caused by damage to any point of the left hemisphere. With such aphasia, there are problems with using the wrong words when speaking and finding them for speaking.

 

How to Treat the Word Finding Difficulty of Alzheimer’s Patients?

Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that can not be cured. Over time, Alzheimer’s speech patterns manifest themselves worse, usually happening in the last stages of the disease. Unfortunately, there is no medicine to cure or slow down this disorder. However, doctors have some methods for practicing every day to alleviate the difficulty of word finding:

 

  • Support therapy

When diagnosing Alzheimer’s, doctors prescribe appropriate drugs to prevent the disease from progressing. If you strictly follow all the doctor’s instructions, you can preserve the independence of performing everyday skills and improve your memory gradually.

 

  • Read every day

Daily reading helps to increase vocabulary and facilitates speech production during communication. It also helps to find the appropriate words in the conversation faster.

 

  • Create a healthy diet

Eating healthy foods is crucial for maintaining good health. Adjust your diet and eat foods that promote brain activity. For example, apples and nuts will help with such trouble as finding words.

 

  • Develop hand-eye coordination

Engage in some creativity. It can be knitting, drawing, or gluing paper figures. Such activities develop fine motor skills, which are important in Alzheimer’s disease.

 

  • Use the alphabet

Choose any letter from the alphabet and come up with as many words as possible for this letter. It will help transfer terms from your passive vocabulary to your active language.

The practice of such methods will not allow the disease to progress to a worse stage and help to cope with such a problem as using wrong words when speaking.

 

Prevention of Aphasia

It is impossible to cure such a disorder completely, but there are various preventive therapies to relieve symptoms and improve speech. Prevention of aphasia depends on its type and severity of symptoms. If a person loses speech due to dementia, the treatment will be longer and more challenging to perform. If aphasia is just starting to appear, therapy can restore language skills more quickly. So, sometimes a specific type of aphasia may require speech therapy. It includes:

  • checking communication skills;
  • analysis of pronunciation problems and their solutions;
  • performing exercises to improve pronunciation;
  • learning to use gestures and communicate using a computer;
  • working out issues with the pronunciation of certain sounds.

Prevention of aphasia

If we talk about the general prevention of aphasia, the following tips can alleviate the disorder:

  • Eat healthy food;
  • Maintain an average body weight;
  • Avoid head injuries;
  • Do sports or devote at least 30 minutes of physical activity during the day;
  • Do not drink alcohol or smoke;
  • Take regular tests to monitor changes in the body;
  • Do exercises to train your memory and improve the functionality of your brain.

By the way, such preventive methods can be helpful both for aphasia and dementia. Prevention is carried out in order to help a person be independent of their condition and not worsen their health. Also, it contributes to maintaining health and restores the level of functionality before the injury.

 

Conclusion

Scientists worldwide look for new ways to recognize Alzheimer’s disease before the first behavioral symptoms appear. But unfortunately, until now, scientists have not invented drugs to get rid of this disease forever or at least slow it down. Alzheimer’s, aphasia, and dementia have wide varieties, making researching these disorders even more difficult. Previously, such diseases were only in the elderly, but now they can happen to anyone at any age. Alzheimer’s speech patterns can manifest in different ways. In some, it can be worse; in others, it is better. Therefore, when such disease occurs, there is only one way out: correctly selected therapy by a doctor.

 

FAQ

  • Does aphasia always lead to dementia?

Yes. Primary progressive aphasia is a type of frontotemporal dementia, a group of related disorders. This condition progresses slowly, becoming noticeable only when the symptoms become pronounced. People with primary progressive aphasia may lose the ability to speak and write or understand spoken language.

  • What type of dementia affects your speech?

It can be frontotemporal dementia, characterized by damage to the brain substance in the frontal region and frontal segments of the temporal lobes. As a result, it has a terrible effect on the speech. It is even worse than Alzheimer’s disease.

  • What stage of Alzheimer’s is loss of speech?

It is manifested in the last stages of this disease. At this stage, people lose the ability to communicate normally. They can not form sentences, pronounce words and speak intelligently. Although sometimes they manage to say a word, people with such symptoms definitely need the help of other people.

  • What does it mean when a dementia patient stops talking?

This human condition is known as aphasia. It is expressed in the inability to speak and understand the language by ear. It is most common in the elderly and can be caused by stroke, Alzheimer’s, or traumatic brain injury. And it is only one type of aphasia because there are many of them.

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Lone Star Neurology
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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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