Are bilingual stroke patients more susceptible to aphasia?

Aphasia is a condition that commonly affects stroke patients, and leads to problems with the ability to speak, read, and understand language. Patients with aphasia suffer disproportionate levels of anxiety, depression and unemployment, at just the same time as their most basic coping mechanism — talking with family and friends — is being undermined. Stroke patients want to know whether, when, and in what respects they might hope to recover lost language skills - questions that have motivated a great deal of research into the factors that predict better or worse recovery from post-stroke aphasia.

Whether bilingualism (speaking more than one language) affects the severity of aphasia compared to monolingualism (speaking just one) is unclear, but bilingualism is the norm rather than the exception in many parts of the world. Many would assume being able to speak more than one language would lessen the effects of aphasia, as there is a greater understanding of language to draw on. New research suggests however, that bilingual stroke patients are actually more susceptible to aphasia than monolingual stroke patients.

"Comparing language outcomes in monolingual and bilingual stroke patients" via Brain.

Image: Leukoaraiosis by Jmarchn. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Jan Scheuermann, a quadriplegic and pioneering patient for an experimental Pentagon robotics program, continues to break ground in freeing the mind from the body. 

The 55-year-old mother of two in 2012 agreed to let surgeons implant electrodes on her brain to control a robotic arm. More recently, she flew an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter simulator using nothing but her thoughts, an official said.

Stealth Delivery of “Death Genes” Treats Lethal Brain Cancer in Rats

Introducing genes into cancer cells to correct their genetic mistakes or to kill them could be an effective treatment, but has proved difficult in practice. Recently, researchers successfully used nanoparticles to deliver genes to cancer cells in the brains of rats, prolonging their lives.

This study was funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (grant number 1R01EB016721).


Most nights I am busy
Pressed up against a brain
Conjuring thoughts and
Near which I have no business in meeting.
I reluctantly find myself
Privy to brainwaves
Linking old things
With new.
And I say to myself
“Maybe it was okay”
But how could it be?
What foul divertissment is this?
To say that I must forfeit my bygones
And hopefully grow.
Even though there were times
That I was close to the throne
Nearing the colorful robes and priceless
Maybe that is why I am a recluse

I never wanted the crown.