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Varieties and Significance of the Alexias

Antonio R. Damasio, MD
Arch Neurol. 1977;34(6):325-326. doi:10.1001/archneur.1977.00500180019003.
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The designation "alexia" denotes the presence of a reading disorder that prevents comprehension of written language. "Dyslexia" is an equivalent term although tradition associates it with a group of reading disorders of unknown pathogenesis and varied pattern that are manifest in childhood and considered developmental. Thus, more often than not, "alexia" refers to the acquired reading disorder that appears in the adult victim of cerebral insult.

Although alexia is a most revealing clinical sign, it is often neglected. Frequently, the disorder is recognized, but its profile or its relation to accompanying signs is not properly defined. Hence, it is occasionally misinterpreted and its presence may lead to inaccurate clinical judgment. The fact that assessment of alexia requires time and testing material (though not very much time and little material) possibly accounts for this state of affairs. Finally, alexia is one of the more fascinating disturbances that can be fruitfully


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