Transient expressive aphasia is the clinical name given to a temporary inability to express oneself verbally. Like full expressive aphasia, this condition relates to the Broca's area of the brain and can also be referred to as Broca's Aphasia.
Indications of expressive aphasia
Patients who suffer from transient expressive aphasia are most likely to present symptoms of agrammatism. This means that it is often difficult for them to formulate sentences and speak in a clear and coherent manner. They may have problems finding the correct words to use in order to convey the meanings, or they may pause excessively in order to retrieve the requisite words from their memory.
Causes of transient expressive aphasia
Whilst permanent Broca's aphasia usually results from a stroke, transient expressive aphasia can have several causes:
Migraine - Expressive aphasia has been noted amongst migraine sufferers during the aura phase of a migraine. The aura phase is the period of time which immediately preceded the headache or cephalalgia phase of a migraine. During this phase, the migraine sufferer may lose half of their field of vision, see spots of light or zigzag lines. As well as experiencing these visual disturbances, garbled or mumbled speech may result. This is due to the brain being affected by electrical impulses which disrupt the proper functioning of their neurons. Some sufferers also experience loss of feeling in one side of their body, usually the side connected with their speech - for most people this is the left side.
Altitude - Expressive aphasia has been noted in people who are visiting areas of much higher altitude than they are used to. This has been compared to the effects of migraine and results from the difference in the oxygen concentration available at higher altitudes. The lack of oxygen can cause problems with the proper functioning of the brain which, as with migraines, can cause electrical conductivity disruption and cause the same visual disruptions and aphasia.
Extradural abscess - An extradural abscess is a swelling on the outermost of the three cerebral membranes (the meninges) which surround the brain. It has been noted that if the abscess is present near to the Broca's area, the patient can suffer transient expressive aphasia as a result of the swelling. This is due to the pressure caused by the abscess pressing on the brain in such a way that it can restrict blood flow to the Broca's area, thereby impairing brain function in the affected area.
Commonly recommended treatments for transient aphasia
As most cases of temporary expressive aphasia are related to migraines, the most common treatment for the patient is to administer migraine preventative drugs.
Another alternative treatment is for the patient to have Botox injections into the nerves to trigger points in the faces and necks of sufferers. The injections cause the nerves at the injection sites to decompress. This can cause substantial relief from the symptoms of migraine.
If the Botox treatment provides substantial long-term relief then the patient may well benefit from migraine treatment surgery. The surgery involves nerve clusters being surgically separated from the tissues that are exerting pressure on them.