Amnesic or anomic aphasia: symptoms, causes and treatment

Human language is the result of the interaction of a series of brain activities aimed at collecting, integrating and developing messages that the medium sends to the person. When this interaction is altered due to some damage to the brain, language disorders such as aphasia occur.

The problem with aphasia is that speaking, comprehension, and naming are badly affected. In the latter case, the name of the objects, aphasia is called amnesic or anomic aphasia, This makes it extremely difficult for the person to name objects.

    What is amnesic aphasia?

    Although problems with the ability to name objects or people are common in many aphasic disorders, the main feature that differentiates amnesic or anomic aphasia from the rest is that in this the anomy should appear relatively isolated.

    To clarify this concept a little more, anomie is the difficulty of remembering the names of objects, people, elements … being the person practically unable to say things by name.

    In anomic aphasia, the person is perfectly able to understand what is asked of him, and is even able to correctly point at the object for which he cannot find the word. However, trying to name it is impossible.

    When this alteration is very accentuated, the person’s speech becomes a speech based on circumlocution, that is, he needs to use more words and expressions than usual to express a single one. concept, or that it uses words from the same semantic field.

    Other peculiarities to categorize aphasia as amnesic are:

    • Occupation of generalizations
    • repetition preserved
    • Relatively well-preserved written and written comprehension
    • He speaks fluently and verbal comprehension intact

    Causes of amnesic aphasia

    Since memory retrieval in memory is a complicated process that works in conjunction with other intellectual and cognitive gears, it is difficult to locate the cause of aphasia at any particular point in the human brain.

    However, in very pronounced amnesic aphasias, lesions in different specific areas of the brain cause this type of anomic problem. These sectors are located in the angular region, more precisely in the multimodal association cortex of the parieto-temporoccipital region; or in the posterior region of the third temporal gyrus of the predominant hemisphere.

    Another scenario in which amnesic aphasia can be observed are those caused by:

    • brain tumors
    • apoplexy
    • dementia


    Usually, the initial symptoms begin to manifest in the early stage of aphasia, during which the person begins to feel problems of naming an object, a person, an animal, a feeling, Etc., coming to develop a total incompetence.

    Some of the consequences associated with these symptoms are fainting, headache and seizures; and problems in the workplace, at home and in academia.

    This symptomatology is usually not restored naturally, only if the aphasia is caused by a transient ischemic attack (TIA). Therefore the person must go to rehab so that the symptoms do not set in permanently.

      Differences between anomic aphasia and semantic aphasia

      Although with regard to the classification of aphasia, this is generally represented as independent, in clinical practice this type of aphasia usually occurs with semantic aphasia.

      Unlike anomic, semantic aphasia manifests itself in a deficit of understanding of logico-grammatical structures. In this aphasia, the person finds it impossible to understand the full meaning of a sentence and the relationship between the parts that make it up.

      At the level of oral or conversational language skills remain relatively preserved, Being very common the tendency to forget the words, hence the relation between these types of aphasias.

        Tests and diagnosis

        A number of assessment and diagnostic batteries are indicated to assess the language in all its aspects. Be particularly useful when making a first screening.

        One of the most famous tests is the Boston test, Among the objectives are:

        • Assessment of the person’s abilities in each of the areas of the language with the intention of developing a specific action plan.
        • Specification and diagnosis of a clinical picture, Thus specifying the site of the injury.
        • Assessment of the patient’s degree of deficit.

        There are also a number of specific tests which only examine specific aspects of the language, and which can be helpful in developing a plan of action tailored to the person’s needs.

        Some of these tests are:

        • Totem test for the assessment of oral comprehension
        • Pizzamilio test for the evaluation of syntactic comprehension
        • Boston vocabulary test that specifically studies naming
        • Audrey Holland test to assess communication skills in everyday life
        • CADL test for the specific assessment of communication skills beyond the specific alterations of speech.

        Intervention and treatment

        After the diagnosis, it is essential to develop an intervention or rehabilitation program that allows the patient to develop in his daily life in the most bearable way possible.

        As anomic aphasia is usually accompanied by symptoms typical of other aphasia, rehabilitation exercises should be accompanied or supplemented by other interventions. In this way, the patient manages to improve his access to the lexicon, improve the designation of objects, increase their command of speech and, therefore, increase their resources to interact with other people in their daily life

        Therefore, there are a number of goals to be achieved while treating amnesic aphasia:

        • Provide skills for language improvement
        • Relearn the everyday language
        • Provide psychological support to the patient

        Ask relatives of the patient to communicate effectively with him

        Leave a Comment