In 2001 a survey was conducted in a number of towns across the world, including Exeter in the UK, to identify the level of awareness and knowledge of aphasia in the community. Aphasia is difficulty in producing or understanding language resulting from stroke, brain injury or dementia. The 2001 survey demonstrated that 18% of the Exeter sample had some awareness and only 7.67% had any knowledge of aphasia. There had been no significant attempts to raise awareness in these areas since then. Sixteen years later, the same survey was conducted with a convenience sample of 167 shoppers in a public shopping centre in Exeter. Respondents were considered to have an awareness if they had heard of aphasia and basic knowledge if they understood the possible cause and consequence of the condition. Results demonstrated 34% of respondents were aware of aphasia (increased from 16 years prior) whilst only 5% had a basic knowledge of the condition (proportionally less than previously). The authors hypothesise that this may be due to the increased presence of aphasia in the media. They also highlight the importance of public awareness in relation to the amount of public funding for service provision and research. Given that our population is getting progressively older, and the number of people living with conditions such as dementia is increasing, it is likely that there will be many more people requiring services and benefitting from research on aphasia. Thus, active steps to increase public awareness of aphasia should be a matter of urgency.

Revisiting the public awareness of aphasia in Exeter: 16 years on.
Hill A, Blevins R, Code C.
2018;Early online:1-10.
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Anna Volkmer

UCL, London, UK.

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