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What Is Conduction Aphasia?

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  • Written By: Jane Lapham
  • Edited By: S. Pike
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2018
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Conduction aphasia is a language disorder characterized by an inability to repeat words or sentences produced by another person. It can occur after stroke or traumatic brain injury, developing as a result of damage to the area of the brain where language is processed. It is a type of expressive aphasia, which is to say that it is an aphasia that affects an individual's spoken language abilities. By comparison with other forms of aphasia, conduction aphasia is a relatively mild disorder. Most affected individuals are able to function normally in day-to-day life.

An individual suffering from conduction aphasia generally exhibits relatively normal language comprehension abilities and fluent speaking abilities. The main difficulty with the disorder lies in the individual's inability to repeat words or sentences produced by another person. This inability to repeat the words of another can also induce difficulties in reading aloud. An additional symptom of the disorder is difficulty pronouncing words correctly, including the frequent transposition of sounds in a word or dropping the grammatical endings of words.

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Damage to the brain that occurs as a result of stroke or traumatic brain injury is the most common cause of conduction aphasia. Dementia or the presence of a tumor in the brain can also produce the disorder. When brain damage from one of these causes occurs, lesions can develop in the area of the brain that processes language, and may affect the functional abilities of the individual affected. Another name for conduction aphasia is associative aphasia.

Individuals suffering from conduction aphasia are generally highly functional and have mostly normal speech patterns, making it difficult to diagnose the disorder. In fact, conduction aphasia commonly goes undiagnosed for long periods of time. Individuals suffering from the disorder, however, are usually at least partly aware of the language difficulties they are having. Many affected individuals make concerted efforts to correct their language errors.

Relative to other forms of aphasia, conduction aphasia is a mild impairment. It does not usually inhibit a person's ability to lead a normal life. Treatment of the disorder is generally highly individualized, and varies depending on the individual characteristics of the affected individual and the therapist with whom the individual works. Recovery from the disorder also varies greatly, with some of those affected recovering spontaneously in a few days and others living with the condition for the remainder of their lives.

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