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2Chapter 9 Cognitive Communication Disorders After Traumatic Brain Injury

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), traumatic brain injury (TBI) will surpass many diseases as the major cause of death and disability by the year 2020 (Hyder, Wunderlich, Puvanachandra, Guraj, & Kobusingye, 2007). It is estimated that 10 million people are affected worldwide annually leading to a signicant pressure on health and medical resources. TBI most often affects young adults who suffer devastating life-long disabilities; however, there is also a higher incidence in early childhood and the elderly (Bruns & Hauser, 2003). The majority of TBIs in young adults are the result of motor vehicle accidents, while typically children and the elderly sustain injuries as a result of falls. There has also been an increase in the number of injuries resulting from violence and war, particularly in low and middle income countries (Hyder et al., 2007). The disabilities resulting from TBI span both physical and psychological domains of function. Communication problems may be a consequence of disabilities within and across these domains and represent a unique challenge for clinicians and researchers alike. The past four decades have seen an evolution in the description of these communication disorders, with advances in the elds of pragmatics, social cognition, sociolinguistic applications to disordered language, and neuroimaging, and these will be outlined in this chapter.