September 19, 2016: Thalamic aphasia

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September 19, 2016

Thalamic aphasia

Thalamic aphasia occurs with left-sided thalamic lesions that involve the ventrolateral (VL) nucleus. It usually presents like a transcortical sensory or motor aphasia. Infarctions of the tuberothalamic artery, which arises from the posterior communicating artery, are associated with impaired comprehension and either a fluent aphasia with both semantic and phonemic paraphasic errors, or a nonfluent, anomic aphasia. Infarctions of the paramedian artery, which arises from the P1 segment of the posterior cerebral artery, are associated with a nonfluent aphasia with hypophonic speech. Repetition is generally intact for all thalamic aphasias. Thalamic aphasia is thought to result from disconnection of cortical language centers from the thalamic nuclei. Strokes in these vascular territories may also cause significant neuropsychological deficits predominantly affecting arousal, memory, and personality changes.

  1. Schmahmann J. Vascular Syndromes of the Thalamus. Stroke 2003; 34: 2264-2278.

Submitted by Michael Young, DO, PGY-4, Department of Neurology, University of California, Irvine Medical Center.

Dr. Young reports no disclosures. 

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