home
RSS
June 24th, 2010
11:03 AM ET

Why am I mixing up my words? Is this a learning disability?

As a feature of CNNhealth.com, our team of expert doctors will answer readers' questions. Here's a question for Dr. Gupta.

From Matthew, Mount Laurel, New Jersey

"I'm 45. Don't smoke, drink. Married since '93. Have 11-year-old sons, both diagnosed with Asperger's but mainstream and doing fine. Over the past year or so, I've caught myself saying a similar word to the one I'm thinking. Talking about pouring a "box" instead of bowl of cereal. Calling the boys down for "breakfast" instead of dinner. Reminding them to eat their "hot dog'"when they're clearly holding a hamburger. My family notes when this happens and it's worrying me. My wife (a special ed teacher) believes it's a learning disability and it's just becoming more pronounced as I age. I did go to speech lessons in elementary school. Does this sound like anything to look into?"

Answer

Language issues like the ones you describe, Matthew, can be relatively innocuous or they may be subtle, early clues about more serious problems occurring in the brain, such as a tumor or infection. You cannot be sure until you are checked out by a doctor, but what you are describing can occur in a brain disorder called aphasia or dysphasia.

It occurs when there is damage to regions of the brain that control language. According to the National Aphasia Association, about 1 million people in the U.S. deal with some form of aphasia. More specifically, your symptoms sound like something neurologists call semantic paraphasia. That is, substituting the word you intend for one that has a similar meaning.

"The word you're substituting is still within the context of the word you mean to say," said Dr. Olajide Williams, a neurologist at Columbia University Medical Center. "Instead of saying 'clock' you say 'watch' or instead of saying 'dinner' you say 'lunch.' Instead of saying 'spoon' you say 'fork,' and on down the line."

Semantic paraphasia is usually due to sudden brain trauma, such as a stroke or a blow to the head. Your symptoms sound different - like they have developed gradually. According to Williams, that would rule out a stroke, which typically occurs suddenly.  And he says that speech problems related to semantic paraphasia usually happen alongside other communication problems involving writing, reading, repetition and comprehension.

In your case, that may or may not rule out semantic paraphasia. What is left are a host of other possibilities. Neurodegenerative disorders, brain tumors, and brain infections affecting language areas of the brain could also be to blame.

Now before you become too concerned, you should follow your instinct and look into this further. Seek the advice of a neurologist, who will most likely give you a comprehensive language exam. The exam involves an evaluation of your speech - from basics to more complex tasks. You may also be tested for reading, writing and grammar to try to pick up brain abnormalities.

An important part of this complex equation is that you have had your symptoms for a relatively short period of time, so if there is a problem, you have a better chance of addressing it.

Good luck Matthew.


soundoff (2,452 Responses)
  1. FbsgZisse

    cheap generic cialis cialis c800 cialis generic canada pharmacy

    February 16, 2021 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. KvaxMile

    payday advance loans in new york how does a quick cash loan work payday loans beaumont tx

    February 16, 2021 at 14:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. froleprotrem

    I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself? Plz reply back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know wheere u got this from. thanks

    http://www.froleprotrem.com/

    February 16, 2021 at 19:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. 500000Scrapebox CommentBacklinks

    1,000,000 GSA Live Backlinks High Quality SEO links + Bad Links Removal: https://www.seoclerk.com/Link-Building/842081/1-000-000-GSA-Live-Backlinks-High-Quality-SEO-links-Bad-Links-Removal

    https://www.seoclerk.com/Virtual-Assistant/840836/I-will-create-a-profitable-digital-marketing-strategy-and-plan

    February 16, 2021 at 22:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Michael Gaekle

    I have created a blog using Blogspot, and I want it to appear on Google Search. Can someone provide me with the steps to do so? . . Much appreciated!.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/kmkowalsky/

    February 17, 2021 at 00:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. LabxEncox

    how long does cialis 20 mg last cialis i hipertenzija is it illegal to buy cialis online

    February 17, 2021 at 10:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. frolep rotrem

    You are a very smart person!

    http://www.froleprotrem.com/

    February 17, 2021 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. NbnhZisse

    canadian medicine viagra http://vigedon.com/ where can i buy cheap viagra online

    February 18, 2021 at 03:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. best Italian Orlando

    Fascinating article!

    https://www.orlandoweekly.com/orlando/christinis-ristorante-italiano/Location?oid=2292646

    February 18, 2021 at 08:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. thetuckernews.com exercise

    Good I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs and related information ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, site theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Excellent task..

    http://images.google.tn/url?q=http://thetuckernews.com

    February 19, 2021 at 00:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Filozofia Etyka

    Overall, is especially designed to cater to all your needs as much as we cant escape the fact that became guilty by association.

    http://www.filozofia.xmc.pl

    February 19, 2021 at 06:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Emergency Roofing Contractor Flint

    Thank You for your information.

    http://www.vos-couleurs.com/uncovering-shopping-for-key-features-of-roofer/

    February 22, 2021 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Przemysl Chemiczny USA

    You made various good points there. I did a search on the matter and found mainly folks will go along with with your blog.

    http://www.usa.xmc.pl

    February 22, 2021 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. www.facebook.com/clipsitnet

    Good I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs as well as related information ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, site theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Nice task..

    http://cse.google.lu/url?q=https://www.facebook.com/clipsitnet

    February 22, 2021 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Fashion Styles

    Heya this is kinda of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I'm starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    https://www.ifashionstyles.com

    February 23, 2021 at 08:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. 온라인카지노

    우리카지노

    https://cabelas.cc

    February 24, 2021 at 17:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. download mega88

    I absolutely love your blog and find most of your post's to
    be just what I'm looking for. Do you offer guest writers to write content
    for you? I wouldn't mind producing a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write regarding here.
    Again, awesome weblog!

    My blog ... download mega88

    February 25, 2021 at 05:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. mega888 malaysia

    Hello very nice web site!! Man .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I will bookmark your site and take the feeds also?
    I'm glad to find a lot of helpful information here in the publish, we want work out extra strategies on this regard,
    thanks for sharing. . . . . .

    my page :: mega888 malaysia

    February 25, 2021 at 07:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. sex doll

    556378 321126What is your most noted accomplishment. They may possibly want very good listeners rather than very good talkers. 156280

    February 25, 2021 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. diigo.com

    Its actually a great and useful piece of info. I am glad that you just shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

    https://64.233.166.84/url?q=https://www.diigo.com/user/jerrys01

    February 26, 2021 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. ClarkTauts

    b0ew1 jlktv vj8t

    February 28, 2021 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. theintouchnews.com

    Whats Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I've found It positively useful and it has helped me out loads. I'm hoping to give a contribution & assist other users like its aided me. Good job.

    http://cse.google.mw/url?q=http://theintouchnews.com/

    February 28, 2021 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. ClarkTauts

    mxysu emtui ny3r

    February 28, 2021 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Typy cukrzycy

    When I start your Feed it appears to be to be a lot of junk, is the issue on my side?

    http://www.cukrzyca.xmc.pl

    February 28, 2021 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. ClarkTauts

    f1uvb uy4hl afcd

    March 1, 2021 at 02:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. DanteADeroin

    Hello! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with SEO?
    I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing very good results.
    If you know of any please share. Many thanks!

    My page: DanteADeroin

    March 1, 2021 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Kymberly Rebera

    Woah! I'm really digging the template/theme of this site. It's simple, yet effective. A lot of times it's difficult to get that "perfect balance" between superb usability and appearance. I must say you've done a very good job with this. Also, the blog loads extremely quick for me on Safari. Excellent Blog!

    https://proxyti.com/buy/200-private-proxies/

    March 1, 2021 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. ClarkTauts

    l111d q61ly uldz

    March 1, 2021 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. thetuckernews.com exercise

    I have been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this website. Thanks , Ill try and check back more often. How frequently you update your web site?

    https://cse.google.vg/url?q=http://thetuckernews.com

    March 2, 2021 at 10:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. KndnMile

    viagra overdose viagra for pulmonary hypertension how much does viagra cost at walmart?

    March 2, 2021 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. FjjuZisse

    how to make viagra http://viagraonlinejc.com/ viagra buy

    March 3, 2021 at 00:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. mega888 ios

    This is my first time go to see at here and i am truly happy to read everthing at one place.

    Here is my website :: mega888 ios

    March 3, 2021 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Hal Lipphardt

    Great info and straight to the point. I don't know if this is really the best place to ask but do you folks have any thoughts on where to employ some professional writers? Thx 🙂

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    March 4, 2021 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Riley Maske

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    March 4, 2021 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Christoper Kagle

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    March 4, 2021 at 10:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. www.thetrailblazingnews.com home

    You actually make it appear so easy along with your presentation but I find this matter to be really one thing that I believe I might never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely large for me. I am having a look forward to your next put up, Ill try to get the hang of it!

    http://clusterz.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=http://thetrailblazingnews.com/

    March 4, 2021 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. theintouchnews.com home

    Someone necessarily lend a hand to make severely articles I might state. This is the first time I frequented your website page and to this point? I amazed with the research you made to make this actual post incredible. Magnificent task!

    https://google.co.ao/url?q=http://theintouchnews.com/

    March 4, 2021 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. best site

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog thus i came to “return the
    favor”.I am attempting to find things to improve
    my website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your
    ideas!!

    March 5, 2021 at 03:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Gf-9 supplement

    Excellent beat ! I wish to apprentice at the same time as you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a weblog site? The account aided me a appropriate deal. I were a little bit familiar of this your broadcast provided brilliant clear idea

    https://www.file-upload.com/2dg6bkx57l1t

    March 5, 2021 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. travelers notebook

    This design is steller! You certainly learn how to keep a reader amused.
    Between your wit as well as your videos, I found myself almost moved to start my very
    own blog (well, almost...HaHa!) Fantastic job. I actually enjoyed everything
    you were required to say, and more than that,
    how you will presented it. Too cool!

    Also visit my page travelers notebook

    March 6, 2021 at 07:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Joey Lallier

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    March 6, 2021 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. reliva cbd reddit

    who owns cbd oil pulling

    https://yrbmag.com/gg20/holiday/justcbd/

    March 6, 2021 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Cornelius Bittenbender

    I truly appreciate this post. I've been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You've made my day! Thank you again!

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    March 6, 2021 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Hairstyles VIP

    Most of whatever you state happens to be supprisingly precise and it makes me ponder why I hadn't looked at this with this light before. Your article truly did switch the light on for me as far as this issue goes. Nonetheless there is 1 factor I am not too cozy with and while I attempt to reconcile that with the core theme of your position, allow me see exactly what the rest of the visitors have to say.Very well done.

    https://www.hairstylesvip.com

    March 6, 2021 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Lamellenreiniger

    With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement?

    My site has a lot of unique content I've either authored myself
    or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it
    up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know any techniques to help reduce content from being ripped off?
    I'd definitely appreciate it.

    March 7, 2021 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. arvest bank

    14695 93445adore your imagination!!!! fantastic function!! oh yeah.. cool photography too. 917637

    March 8, 2021 at 21:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. tabledesirespanish.booklikes.com/

    Lovely blog! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am taking your feeds also.

    http://www.depar.de/url?q=http://tabledesirespanish.booklikes.com/

    March 9, 2021 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. zortilo nrel

    Keep up the superb piece of work, I read few posts on this website and I conceive that your web blog is real interesting and has sets of superb information.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    March 9, 2021 at 23:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. tabledesirespanish.booklikes.com/

    Normally I don't read article on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice post.

    https://images.google.ci/url?q=http://tabledesirespanish.booklikes.com/

    March 10, 2021 at 08:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Read more

    I must thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this
    blog. I really hope to view the same high-grade content from you later on as well.
    In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get
    my own, personal website now 😉

    March 10, 2021 at 09:32 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49

Leave a Reply to nthtlOtqBt


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.