• Aphasia-associated Anomia

    (Anomia, Aphasia-associated; Nominal Aphasia; Anomic Aphasia; Difficulty Naming Objects and People)


    When you have this condition, it is difficult to name people and things. This is a type of aphasia , which is a language disorder. Aphasia-associated anomia can be treated.
    Stroke—Most Common Cause of Aphasia
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    Anomia is caused by injury to the language areas of the brain. Examples of injury to the brain are:

    Risk Factors

    These factors increase your chance of developing aphasia-associated anomia:
    • Being at risk for stroke or dementia
    • Having a history of transient ischemic attacks (TIA)
    • Being middle to older age (more common in older people)
    Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors.


    If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to anomia. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have difficulty finding the right word when speaking and writing. For example, instead of using an exact word, you may use ambiguous or roundabout speech, such as:
    • Using general descriptions instead of specifics: “that place where you sleep” for “bedroom”
    • Saying what a thing does, but not what it is: “that thing you drive” for “car”
    In most cases, you can understand speech and read.


    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. He will do a physical exam and may do a neurological examination, tests to check brain function, and/or order the following:
    • Exam of muscles used in speech
    • Tests to assess language skills—for example, identifying objects, defining words, and writing
    • CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the head
    • MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the head
    • Electroencephalogram (EEG) —a test that records the brain’s activity by measuring electrical currents through the brain (may be done in some situations)
    You may be referred to a neurologist. This is a doctor who specializes in diseases of the nervous system.


    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:

    Speech-Language Therapy

    The speech therapist will help you to:
    • Preserve the language skills you have
    • Try to restore those you have lost
    • Discover new ways of communicating
    Therapy may occur one-on-one or in a group. Activities may include:
    • Using flash cards with pictures and words to help you name objects
    • Repeating words back to the therapist
    • Working with computer programs designed to improve speech, hearing, reading, and writing

    Family Care and Counseling

    You will learn how to apply the lessons learned in speech therapy to your life. Counseling can help you to adjust to returning home. It can also help your family learn ways to better communicate with you.


    Since stroke is a common cause of aphasia, follow these guidelines to help prevent stroke:


    National Aphasia Association http://www.aphasia.org/

    National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/

    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov/


    The Aphasia Institute http://www.aphasia.ca/

    Brain Injury Association of Alberta http://www.biaa.ca/

    Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://ww2.heartandstroke.ca/splash/


    Aphasia. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/Aphasia.htm . Accessed November 5, 2008.

    Aphasia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated June 2007. Accessed November 17, 2008.

    Aphasia. EBSCO Patient Education Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/pointOfCare/perc-about . Updated November 2008. Accessed November 5, 2008.

    Aphasia. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders website. Available at: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/aphasia.asp . Accessed November 5, 2008.

    Kirshner HS. Aphasia and aphasic syndromes. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Neurology in Clinical Practice . 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Butterworth Heniemann Elsevier; 2008: 141-160.

    More aphasia facts. The National Aphasia Association website. Available at: http://www.aphasia.org/Aphasia%20Facts/aphasia%5Ffacts.html . Accessed November 5, 2008.

    Stedman TL. Stedman’s Medical Dictionary . 28th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005: 117; B9; B13; 1849-1850.

    Winn P, ed. Dictionary of Biological Psychology . London, England: Routledge; 2001: 95-96

    Revision Information

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