Dystextia: Woman's Garbled Text Messages Were Sign Of Stroke

It Wasn't Autocorrect, It Was A Stroke

When a 25-year-old pregnant woman replied to her husband's text about an appointment with the obstetrician with "every where thinging days nighing," her husband knew there was something wrong (especially since her phone's autocorrect was off).

And turns out, he was right -- she had suffered a stroke.

The case, which was reported in the Archives of Neurology, details what researchers call "dystextia," and how it helped to clue doctors in to a woman's acute ischemic stroke.

The full exchange with her husband went as follows, as detailed in the study article:

Husband (H): So what's the deal?
Patient (P): every where thinging days nighing
P: Some is where!
H: What the hell does that mean?
H: You’re not making any sense.
H: July 24, right?
P: J 30
H: July 30?
P: Yes
H: Oh ok. I’m worried about your
confusing answers
P: But i think
H: Think what?
P: What i think with be fine

The woman had experienced weakness of her leg and arm during the morning of her doctor appointment, and she also had some trouble filling out the form at the office, according to the article.

CBS News reported that the woman was taken to the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with the language condition of "dysphasia." Dysphasia occurs when damage to the brain leads to language and word problems.

She went on to have an MRI brain scan, which revealed that she had, in fact, suffered a stroke.

"Aphasia is a common manifestation of stroke, occurring in 21 percent to 38 percent of acute stroke patients," the Harvard researchers wrote in the study. "To our knowledge, this is the first report of aberrant text messaging being the presenting sign of acute ischemic stroke."

Odd text messages have been observed before in migraine cases, but this case shows just how important technology is becoming in signaling neurologic problems, they said.

"In this case, the availability of texting may have been particularly valuable, because the patient's hypophonia likely prevented earlier detection of her dysphasia," the researchers wrote. (Hypophonia is the term used for having a weak voice because the speech muscles lack coordination; ABC News reported that the woman had basically lost her voice because of an upper respiratory infection.)

"This case report per se does not indicate to me if dystextia is going to be more common to pick up strokes," Dr. Sean Savitz, the director of University of Texas Health Science Center's stroke program, told Reuters. "But I do think it will be a valuable addition to the collection of information that neurologists should obtain when taking a history."

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