August 30th, 2003

Bubble

Ah, insomnia...

3am and nothing doing sleep-wise. I was reading Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct, and he mentions a condition called Broca's aphasia. It occurs in patients who have suffered some sort of localized brain injury, like a stroke or a bullet wound. It causes the patient to lose the ability to use language. Not just that they can't speak - they lose language. The muscles used to speak still function - Pinker refers to one patient who could still blow out candles and such - but they are unable to speak, write, or read.

As if this condition weren't painful enough, the patient shows signs of realizing their condition. Standard I.Q. tests show that non-language-based functions (drawing, computation, construction) were still normal or above. But language is gone. There are rare occurances of patients regaining use of language, but it's a slow, uphill battle.

I can't even imagine losing language. I always thought that my biggest fear would be to become blind - losing images and sights and the faces of my friends and family. But I would still be able to communicate, to write, to speak. Without that ability, I don't know how I would be able to function.

What do you think?
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