Horrible Grammar in Text Messages Could Be a Sign of a Stroke

By Casey Chan on at

In the rankings of where you need to use proper grammar, spelling and sentence structure, text messages have to be in the neighbourhood of last place -- right next to YouTube comments. It's because texts are a mindless quick-shot form of communication, surely? But maybe writing poor word-vomit-texts points to something larger... like having a stroke? That's what some doctors have found, and they're calling it "dystexia."

Doctors in Detroit, USA have found a 40-year-old man who has no problem in reading, writing or comprehending language, but suffers from dystexia. His text messages make no sense! He messaged "Oh baby your" but followed it up with "I am happy". The next day he couldn't convey his thoughts and spoke abnormally, with doctors discovering that he had suffered from a mild ischemic stroke.

What's fascinating though is this bit from the NY Times:

Another doctor handed the man a smartphone and asked him to type a text message with the sentence, "The doctor needs a new BlackBerry."

"She said, ‘Type this exactly how I'm saying it, and don't make any abbreviations or anything,'" Dr. Kaskar said.

In response, the man typed, "Tjhe Doctor nddds a new bb."

When asked if the sentence looked correct, the man said he could not see anything wrong with it.

As doctors found a lesion in his brain's Broca's area, they're speculating that the Broca's area might be the part of the brain that handles texting. The anonymous man who suffered the stroke went through other language tests, and doctors couldn't find any other deficit in comprehension, with his only problem related to texting. So maybe we have a part of our brain that treats texting as a new form of language? And maybe poor texting could eventually become a stroke symptom? Read more about it at the NY Times. [NY Times]