Word-finding problems

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Source: US National Library of Medicine NIH 'Word-finding difficulty: a clinical analysis of the progressive aphasias' PMCID: PMC2373641 EMSID: UKMS1756 PMID: 17947337 Study Fig. 1

Word-finding problems increase as we age and we become slower in processing information. Retrieving words is difficult although there is not evidence we lose vocabulary as we age. Semantic structure, or the organization of words in memory, does not change. "Older adults probably have more trouble dealing with large amounts of information" and as they age may develop different strategies to accommodate their decline in processing speed and capacity.[1]

Words are said to be on the tip-of-the-tongue.

Word-finding problems "covers a wide range of clinical phenomena and may signify any of a number of distinct pathophysiological processes" and speech and language disturbances when dealing with dementias "present unique diagnostic and conceptual problems that are not fully captured by classical models derived from the study of vascular and other acute focal brain lesions."[2]

Word-finding problems and ME/CFS[edit | edit source]

Word-finding problems is an often reported symptom of ME/CFS. It is also referred to as language impairment. Etiology for language impairment with ME/CFS or fibromyalgia is undetermined at this time, but may be associated with a speech disorder called dysphasia (or aphasia, if it's severe).[3]

Prevalence[edit | edit source]

In a 2001 Belgian study, 75.5% of patients meeting the Fukuda criteria and 80.4% of patients meeting the Holmes criteria, in a cohort of 2073 CFS patients, reported difficulties with words.[4]Katrina Berne reports a prevalence of 75-80% for 'aphasia' (inability to find the right word, saying the wrong word) and/or dyscalculia (difficulty with numbers) - although she notes that this symptom is probably underreported and more prevalent than indicated.[5]

Presentation[edit | edit source]

Some examples:

  • Increasing use of circumlocutions rather than specific terms (e.g., "I wonder where the thing that goes here is").
  • Use of empty phrases, indefinite terms, and pronouns without antecedents (i.e., referring to something or someone as "it" or "him / her" without first identifying them by name).
  • Increased frequency of pauses.[1]

Anomic Aphasia refers to word-finding problems as a type of aphasia. Its typical characteristics are:

  • Trouble using correct names for people, places, or things.
  • Speaking hesitantly because of difficulty naming words.
  • Grammatical skills are unaffected.
  • Comprehension is normal.
  • Difficulty finding words may be evident in writing as well as speech.
  • Reading ability may be impaired.
  • Having knowledge of what to do with an object, but still unable to name to the object.
  • Severity levels vary from one person to another.[6]

Symptom recognition[edit | edit source]

The Wisconsin ME/CFS Association lists under the cognitive problem portion of Other Common Symptoms "word-finding difficulties" and then goes on to say about many of the symptoms of ME/CFS, "While these symptoms are also experienced occasionally by healthy people, the frequency and severity of their occurrence in people with CFS/FM/MCS is dramatically increased from their occurrence before they became ill."[7]

The ME Association notes under the bullet Brain and Central Nervous System problems including Cognitive dysfunction such as "word finding abilities".[8]

The Hummingbirds' Foundation for ME lists word-finding difficulties under Cognitive signs and symptoms.[9]

The Canadian Consensus Criteria lists difficulties with "word retrieval" under Neurological/Cognitive Manifestations as an optional symptom.

Notable studies[edit | edit source]

Possible causes[edit | edit source]

  • Stroke
  • Head Trauma
  • Dementia
  • Tumors
  • Aging[10]

Potential treatments[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.01.1 "Word-finding problems | Mempowered". www.mempowered.com. Retrieved Aug 10, 2018. 
  2. Rohrer, Jonathan D.; Knight, William D.; Warren, Jane E.; Fox, Nick C.; Rossor, Martin N.; Warren, Jason D. (2008). "Word-finding difficulty: a clinical analysis of the progressive aphasias". Brain : a journal of neurology. 131 (Pt 1): 8–38. doi:10.1093/brain/awm251. ISSN 0006-8950. PMID 17947337. 
  3. Dellwo, Adrienne (Feb 12, 2018). "Do Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Cause Language Problems?". Verywell Health. Retrieved Aug 10, 2018. 
  4. De Becker, Pascale; McGregor, Neil; De Meirleir, Kenny (December 2001). "A definition‐based analysis of symptoms in a large cohort of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome". Journal of Internal Medicine. 250 (3): 234–240. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2796.2001.00890.x. 
  5. Berne, Katrina (Dec 1, 1995), Running on Empty: The Complete Guide to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFIDS), 2nd ed., Hunter House, p. 59, ISBN 978-0897931915 
  6. "Understanding Word Finding Difficulty: Facts and Solutions". Speech-Therapy-on-Video.com. Retrieved Aug 10, 2018. 
  7. "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Help". Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Help. Retrieved Aug 10, 2018. 
  8. "Symptoms, testing, and assessment". www.meassociation.org.uk. Retrieved Aug 10, 2018. 
  9. "M.E. symptoms". The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E. Retrieved Sep 1, 2018. 
  10. "Understanding Word Finding Difficulty: Facts and Solutions". Speech-Therapy-on-Video.com. Retrieved Aug 10, 2018. 
  11. 11.011.1 Tillman, Adriane (Jun 4, 2018). "Victory for ME Disability Claim - U.S. Court Upholds Plaintiff's Lawsuit After Being Denied Disability". #MEAction. Retrieved Feb 2, 2019. 

ME/CFS - An acronym that combines myalgic encephalomyelitis with chronic fatigue syndrome. Sometimes they are combined because people have trouble distinguishing one from the other. Sometimes they are combined because people see them as synonyms of each other.

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history.