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What is Aphasia? [Definition, Symptoms, and Treatment]

De Caro & Kaplen partner Michael V. Kaplen, a three-term president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State, and professorial lecturer at law, teaching a course in brain injury law at the George Washington University Law School, discusses Aphasia, the brain injury afflicting Bruce Willis and 2 million other Americans.

What is Aphasia?

Aphasia is an injury to the part of the brain which controls the ability to speak, to find the correct words to express thoughts, or in some individuals, to understand what others are saying.

How many individuals are affected by aphasia?

Aphasia affects over 2 million Americans, with nearly 180,000 diagnosed with the disorder yearly and is more common than Parkinson’s Disease.

What are the common causes of aphasia?

Aphasia is a brain injury.  The most common cause is a stroke, but it can also be caused by a brain tumor, an infection in the brain known as encephalitis, or even a traumatic brain injury (TBI)caused by head trauma.

How does aphasia impact an individual?

This condition does not rob an individual of their intelligence but leaves them trapped as prisoners in their own body.

Individuals suffering from aphasia experience frustration because of the inability to find words or organize words into sentences.  Sounds are difficult for victims to duplicate in their speech, so the individual may sound different to themselves and others.

What steps need to be taken to increase assistance to victims of aphasia?

Aphasia requires increased funding for research for finding a cure and until then, increase funding for the speech and language rehabilitation that is necessary.

Laws need to be enacted to protect victims with requirements for health insurance companies to include speech and language rehabilitation services as part of any insurance plan, not in days or weeks, but with enough benefits to provide adequate therapy by speech and language pathologists.

Who is an identifiable celebrity who suffers from aphasia?

Bruce Willis has been forced to retire due to this condition.

About The Author

Michael V. Kaplen

Michael V. Kaplen represents victims of vehicle collisions, unsafe buildings and construction sites, and medical malpractice, and is a preferred attorney of The Brain Injury Association of America.

Michael is board certified as a Civil Trial Advocate and board certified in medical malpractice litigation. He is a Professorial Lecturer in Law, The George Washington University Law School, The Legal Aspects of Traumatic Brain Injury.

Michael is past chairman of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Automobile, Highway and Premise Liability Section, past chairman of the AAJ Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, three term president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State served two terms as chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council and vice-president, New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.

He was invited by President Obama to participate in the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit.

He is admitted to courts in New York, Florida, and Washington, DC. He has been selected as a New York Super Lawyer and recognized by Best Lawyers of America and U.S. News and World Report in personal injury law.

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