Health Library

Alexic Anomia

Definition

Alexic anomia happens when you lose your ability to understand written words. You can no longer read and name words. This is a type of aphasia, which is a language disorder. It is caused by the brain not functioning correctly. This is a serious condition that may change over time, depending on the cause.

Stroke—Most Common Cause of Alexic Anomia
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Causes

Alexic anomia is caused by damage to the language areas of the brain, for example:

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of developing alexic anomia include:

Symptoms

If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to alexic anomia. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have:

  • Inability to read with understanding
  • Ability to write, but not read what you have written

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. A neurological examination and tests may also be done to check brain function.

Your doctor may need pictures of your brain. This can be done with:

You may be referred to a neurologist. This is a doctor who specializes in diseases of the nervous system.

Treatment

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

  • Speech-language therapy—to help you use your ability to communicate, regain lost abilities, learn to make up for language problems, and learn other methods to communicate
  • Counseling—to help you cope with your condition and help your family learn how to communicate with you
  • Individualized rehabilitation program—to focus on what caused your condition

Prevention

Stroke is the most common cause of aphasia. Follow these guidelines to help prevent stroke:

Resources

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

Canadian Resources

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

References

Aphasia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 2, 2012. Accessed May 16, 2013.
Cherny LR. Aphasia, alexia, and oral reading. Top Stroke Rehabil. 2004;11:22-36.
Freedman L, Selchen DH, et al. Posterior cortical dementia with alexia: neurobehavioural, MRI, and PET findings. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1991;54;443-448.
Kirshner HS. Aphasia and aphasic syndromes. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, eds. Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Butterworth Heniemann Elsevier; 2008: 141-160.
Aphasia information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/aphasia/aphasia.htm. Updated July 9, 2012. Accessed May 16, 2013.
Stedman TL. Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. 28th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005;48; 177; B13-B14.