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Aphasia

Aphasia is a deficit of language expression and/or comprehension, which affects both written and verbal communication. Aphasia is caused by injury to the brain in language areas, which are usually confined to the dominant hemisphere. In children, aphasia severely impedes communication and can have detrimental long-term outcomes, including learning difficulties, social problems, and behavioral problems. Hence, aphasia is an important language disorder of childhood development. This entry defines aphasia and its causes and describes the common aphasia syndromes.

Etiology

In adults, the most common causes of acute-onset aphasia are stroke (either ischemic or hemorrhagic) and head trauma, whereas a more protracted onset of aphasia may be caused by herpes simplex virus encephalitis or brain tumors. In children, congenital (or developmental) aphasia refers to a defect in

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