Garbled Text Messages Could Indicate Stroke

Garbled Text Messages Could Indicate Stroke

Dystextia, sending garbled messages, may indicate a stroke when viewed alongside other symptoms. Credit: Summer Skyes/Flickr

Dystextia is when a person sends garbled messages, it could simply be that the auto-correct is turned off or that there is something else is going on. Scientists have discovered that dystextia could indicate some kind of a stroke, if taken in context with other symptoms.

The scientists published their findings in the journal Archives of Neurology. A Boston-area man rushed his pregnant wife to the ER after receiving two confusing texts from her. Doctors found her incoherent, disoriented, and unable to coordinate her limbs properly. They diagnosed a stroke, which was confirmed with an MRI. The woman was given blood thinners and made a full recovery.

The growing digital record will most likely become an increasingly important way of identifying neurological diseases, particularly in patients who rely more heavily on written than spoken communication. Making typing mistakes in text messages is easy, especially when using the dictation feature of some smartphones. There is a potential for a lot of false positives, so it’s important to note that dystextia alone isn’t a cause for alarm. When it’s in conjunction with other symptoms, then it could indicate a stroke.

Reference: “Dystextia: Acute Stroke in the Modern Age” by Arvind Ravi, PhD; Vikram R. Rao, MD, PhD and Joshua P. Klein, MD, PhD, March 2013, JAMA Archives of Neurology.
DOI: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.604

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