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The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: December 1896


The case reported concerns a woman who suffered an apoplectic stroke from embolism. After the general symptoms of the insult had passed away, right hemiplegia with motor aphasia, alexia and agraphia remained. At the time of the first examination, about 10 months after the apoplectic insult, the aphasia was almost entirely recovered from, but the faculties of reading and writing were still greatly altered. Vision 10/10 on both eyes. Normal visual fields. Sense of color perception normal. In short, no visual disturbances of any kind.

The interesting features of the case were:

1st. Marked disturbances of the faculty of reading, but the patient can read words better than spell them; she often reads a word correctly but spells it wrongly. In some instances it can be shown that she spells from the sound of the word read. She, for instance, reads “one” correctly but spells it w, o, n. These facts tend to prove that Grashey and Wernicke are wrong in stating that reading is always done by spelling.

2d. Written characters are read with more difficulty than printed ones.

3d. Copying is done better than dictation-writing which may be explained from the fact that in copying the memory has to be taxed much less, as the patient has the text to be copied from constantly before her eyes. A similar explanation may be given for the fact that dictation writing is much more impaired than reading if we further keep in mind that both these functions are in intimate connection with the motor-speech concepts.

Although the motor-speech concepts had been recovered, their association with the visual memories (for reading) and the indirect association (over the sound memories) with the graphic motor memories had not

© Williams & Wilkins 1896. All Rights Reserved.