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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 16, Issue 2-3, Pages 71-84

Acquired Surface Alexia in Spanish: A Case Report

Aldo R. Ferreres,1,2 Macarena Martinez Cuitiño,1,2,3 and Alicia Olmedo1,2

1Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
2Hospital Eva Peron, Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina
3CONICET, Argentina

Received 15 December 2005; Accepted 15 December 2005

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper reports a case study of acquired surface alexia in Spanish and discusses the most suitable tests to detect this syndrome in a writing system that is very regular for reading at the segmental and supra-segmental levels. Patient MM has surface alexia characterized by quantitatively good performance in reading words and pseudowords; accurate but slow and syllabic reading of words, nonwords and sentences; good performance in lexical decision tasks including words and nonwords; errors in lexical decision with pseudohomophones; and homophone confusions. This pattern of reading can be interpreted as a disorder in the lexical reading route and overdependence on the non-lexical route. We discuss nonlexical impairments and the interpretation of alexia and suggest tasks to identify surface alexia in a shallow orthography.