Aphasia: Research Trends and Resources Is there a difference in treatment outcomes for constrained and unconstrained intensive language treatment for individuals with aphasia and apraxia of speech? University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers conducted a Phase I study to determine the behavioral and functional MRI outcomes of two intensive treatment programs to improve naming in ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   June 01, 2012
Aphasia: Research Trends and Resources
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Language Disorders / Aphasia / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   June 01, 2012
Aphasia: Research Trends and Resources
The ASHA Leader, June 2012, Vol. 17, 21. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB.17072012.21
The ASHA Leader, June 2012, Vol. 17, 21. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB.17072012.21
Constrained Versus Unconstrained Treatment
Is there a difference in treatment outcomes for constrained and unconstrained intensive language treatment for individuals with aphasia and apraxia of speech? University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers conducted a Phase I study to determine the behavioral and functional MRI outcomes of two intensive treatment programs to improve naming in two participants with chronic moderate-to-severe aphasia with concomitant apraxia of speech (AOS).
Constraint-induced aphasia therapy (CIAT) has demonstrated positive outcomes in some individuals with chronic aphasia. Whether constraint to the speech modality or treatment intensity is responsible for such gains is still under investigation. Moreover, it remains to be seen whether CIAT is effective in people with persistent severe nonfluent speech, and/or AOS.
In a single-subject multiple baseline approach, participants were treated simultaneously, first with Promoting Aphasics' Communicative Effectiveness (PACE), and then CIAT. Both participants made greater and faster gains in naming following CIAT. Treatment-induced changes in blood oxygenation level dependent activation suggested that better naming was correlated with recruitment of perilesional regions.
Participants accurately produced more target words post-CIAT than post-PACE. Behavioral and fMRI results support the theory that the intense and repetitive nature of obligatory speech production in CIAT has a positive effect on word retrieval, even in chronic moderate-to-severe aphasia with AOS. Search doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0113).
Non-linguistic Cognitive Deficits in Aphasia
What is the relationship between aphasia and non-linguistic cognitive function deficits, and are those deficits related to language and communication status? University of Indiana researchers set out to elucidate the relationship between attention and aphasia, hypothesizing that individuals with aphasia would display variable deficit patterns on tests of attention and other cognitive functions and that their attention deficits, particularly those of complex attention functions, would be related to their language and communication status.
Researchers administered tests of attention, short-term and working memory, and executive functioning to individuals with varying types and severity of aphasia and to age- and education-matched adults with no brain damage.
The group with aphasia performed significantly more poorly than the control group on the cognitive measures, but displayed variability in the presence, types, and severity of their attention and other cognitive deficits. Correlational and regression analyses showed significant relations between participants' attention deficits and their language and communication status.
These findings agree with prior research that identifies attention and working memory deficits in most but not all individuals with aphasia; heterogeneity in the types and severity of attention and other cognitive symptoms; and strong associations among attention, language, and other cognitive domains. Search doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0067).
Time-Course of Lexical Activation
People with agrammatic aphasia may have a delay in lexical activation, according to a recent study. This delay feeds syntactic processing too slowly, and contributes to comprehension deficits in people with agrammatic aphasia.
Researchers investigated the time-course of processing of lexical items in auditorily presented canonical (subject–verb–object) constructions in participants with left-hemisphere damage and agrammatic aphasia and in young, neurologically unimpaired control participants. They used a cross-modal picture priming (CMPP) paradigm to test 114 control participants and eight participants with agrammatic aphasia for priming of a lexical item (direct object–noun) immediately after it is initially encountered in the ongoing auditory stream and at three additional time points at 400-ms intervals.
The control participants demonstrated immediate activation of the lexical item, followed by a rapid loss (decay). The participants with aphasia demonstrated delayed activation of the lexical item. Search doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0109).
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June 2012
Volume 17, Issue 7