'Dystextia': LOL or Stroke Symptom?

Garbled text messages may be harmless errors - or a stroke warning sign. (Image credit: Supri Suharjoto | Shutterstock)

As his young wife's text messages became increasingly garbled, a Boston-area man grew alarmed — especially since she was 11-weeks pregnant:

Husband: So what's the deal?

Wife: every where thinging days nighing

Wife: Some is where!

Husband: What the hell does that mean?

Knowing the autocorrect function was disabled on his wife's phone only increased the man's concern. After he rushed her to a local emergency room, a series of tests including an MRI revealed the cause of the woman's "dystextia," according to NPR.org.

"The dystextia was the first clinical sign that we had that she was having a stroke," Dr. Joshua Klein at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass., told NPR.org. After she was prescribed medication, her symptoms disappeared and there was no evidence of any harm to her unborn child. [Infographic: Texting More Popular than Talking?]

Trouble with speech, reading or writing — known as dysphasia — is a common warning sign of a stroke, in which blood flow to the brain is blocked by blood clots or plaque buildup. Dysphasia can also be caused by a brain tumor, infection, head injury or dementia, reports CBS News.

As text communication becomes more popular, doctors note that garbled or incoherent text messages may be the first warning sign of a stroke or other neurological disorder. Of course, walking, driving, drinking or other distractions can also induce dystextia, as can autocorrect functions on smartphones and tablets.

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Marc Lallanilla
Live Science Contributor
Marc Lallanilla has been a science writer and health editor at About.com and a producer with ABCNews.com. His freelance writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and TheWeek.com. Marc has a Master's degree in environmental planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin.