Alexia and spelling: changes in written language following a head injury

The use of language is one of the main abilities of human beings. Domination more or less influences our relationship with others, our perception of ourselves and even our way of thinking.

Perhaps this is why there is an aspect of neuropsychology that is very interested in language disorders, among which the best known are dyslexia and aphasia. However, there are also others, such as the Alexia and the Staple.

What is an allergy?

In a word, alexia is a loss of the ability to read correctly due to injury to the brain. Therefore, the term alexia refers to a range of reading disorders that cause brain damage.

Alexia is distinguished from dyslexia in that a these latter reading problems appear without it being possible to identify wound marks in the neural tissue brain regions associated with language. If in alexia the disorder appears due to acquired damage, in dyslexia the explanation has more to do with the way the brain develops during childhood, with a genetic component and with a learning dynamic that poses problems. This explains why alexia is also known as acquired dyslexia.

In addition, as with all language disorders, alexia can present in milder and more severe forms in which the person is completely unable to read.

What is spelling?

Spelling is the inability to write correctly the cause is also brain damage.

Typography often appears in conjunction with other language disorders (especially with aphasia and alexia). Therefore, pure spelling cases are very rare in which the mere difficulty of language affects writing and no other ability.

Types of alexia

The concept of alexia being very broad, in neuropsychology and psycholinguistics many subcategories are used to differentiate the ways in which this disorder can present itself and to facilitate the intervention on a case-by-case basis to allow research into which one observes how different injuries produce different effects).

1. Alexia without staple, or pure alexia

As indicated by his name, pure allergy is used to identify cases in which there is only an inability to read, but not to write. People who experience this see the letters as simple drawings and are unable to translate these visual cues into phonemes. Therefore, and although it may sound strange, in cases where alexia is diagnosed without stapling, the affected person is unable to understand what they themselves have written.

This is the less common type of alexia, because for this to happen, injuries must affect both lobes of the brain and ensure that visual information collected from both eyes cannot pass to the left side of the brain to be treated by language areas. , while the actors involved in the production of written language remain intact and connected to each other.

2. Alexia with clip or central

People who experience alexie with spelling they have serious reading and writing problems.

This type of alexia is also known as angular alexia because it affects an area of ​​the brain called the angular gyrus. In angular rotation, which is located in the lower part of the parietal lobe (usually on the left side of the brain), it is responsible among other things for the conversion of letters into sounds and vice versa, and is therefore very likely that an injury that destroys this area or isolates it from the rest of the bark will produce a staple food allergy.

3. Alexia anterior or frontal

Unlike the other two types of alexia, in which the lesion occurs in areas of the brain near the neck, anterior alexia is caused by an injury that primarily affects the frontal lobe, in the area near the left temple. This is an alexia associated with Broca’s aphasia, although with frontal alexia reading problems are usually more severe than those with other language functions.

In patients in whom this type of alexia produces milder symptoms, the main difficulties are related to problems understanding the syntactic relationships between the words read. When the allergy is more severe, they cannot identify the words that are spelled to them or name the letters of a short sentence. However, what distinguishes frontal alexia from the other two categories is that in this one there is a greater ease in reading familiar words.

How to treat allergies?

Allergies are always caused by brain damage, which is why any treatment initiative should be overseen by specialists in the field related to neurology and able to provide personalized service.

bibliographical references

  • Junqué, C. and Barroso, J. (Coords.) (2009). Textbook of Neuropsychology. Madrid: Synthesis.
  • Moore, MM, Brendel, PC, Fiez, JA (2014). Face reading: research on the use of a new facial spelling in acquired alexia. Brain and Language, 129, pages 7-13.
  • Pflugshaupt, T., Gutbrod, K., Wurtz, P., Von Wartburg, R., Nyffeler, T., De Haan, B., Karnath, H., Mueri, RM (2009). On the role of visual field defects in Alexia pure. Brain, 132 (7), pages 1907-1917.

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