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Lifespan CognitionMechanisms of Change$
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Ellen Bialystok and Fergus I. M. Craik

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195169539

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169539.001.0001

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Language Disorders in Aging

Language Disorders in Aging

Chapter:
(p.253) 17 Language Disorders in Aging
Source:
Lifespan Cognition
Author(s):

David Caplan

Gloria Waters

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169539.003.0017

This chapter examines how stroke, a common neurological disease seen in aging, leads to language disorders. Collectively, these disorders are known as aphasias. Stroke is a leading cause of language impairment in older age. What seems to matter most to the generation of language symptoms is whether the disease is focal or broadly distributed and how fast it develops. Focal, rapidly developing diseases such as abscesses, contusions, or certain tumors can produce language symptoms that are clinically indistinguishable from those seen in stroke and that differ from those seen in slowly developing diseases in the same brain regions. Indeed, the language symptoms that occur after lesions in a given area can change abruptly with changes in a disease. Lesions have to occur in “language areas” to produce language symptoms; these areas surround the sylvian fissure and are literalized to the left hemisphere in almost all right-handed and the majority of left-banded and ambidextrous individuals. They may also include some subcortical structures, the anterior-inferior temporal lobe, and the cerebellum.

Keywords:   language disorders, stroke, aphasias, language impairment, language symptoms, tumors, lesions, cerebellum, aging, contusions

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