Theory-Driven Treatment of Language and Cognitive Processes in Aphasia

2016-01-27 16:23:24 | BioPortfolio


The aim of this research is to translate a theory of the cognitive relationship between verbal short--term memory (STM) and word processing impairments in aphasia to treatment approaches for language impairment in aphasia. Based on research of word processing and verbal STM impairments in aphasia, it has been proposed that the co-occurrence of these impairments is due to a disruption of cognitive processes that support both abilities: maintenance of activated semantic and phonological representations of words, hereafter the 'activation--maintenance hypothesis'.

This hypothesis will be tested in the context of a treatment approach that aims to improve word processing and verbal STM abilities. Recently, the importance of treatment research has been emphasized as a critical testing ground for theories of language processing. Although it has been demonstrated that associations between impairments of word processing and reduced verbal STM capacity support the 'activation-maintenance hypothesis', direct treatments to improve the ability to maintain activation of word representations will serve as a stronger test of this hypothesis. First, empirical support will be established for the hypothesis that impairment to short-term maintenance of activated semantic and phonological representations of words impairs language and verbal STM abilities in aphasia and that direct treatment of this deficit will improve both abilities (Specific Aim 1). Second, the effects of this treatment will be compared under two administration conditions, high and low intensity (Specific aim 2). Finally, the neural regions associated with semantic STM and phonological STM will be investigated using voxel--based lesion--symptom mapping (Bates et al., 2003) (Specific Aim 3).

This research represents a unique attempt to apply more recent processing theories of aphasia to treatment of the disorder.The outcomes will have important implications for aphasia rehabilitation research.

Study Design

Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment




Language Intervention


Temple University
United States




Temple University

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2016-01-27T16:23:24-0500

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A cognitive disorder marked by an impaired ability to comprehend or express language in its written or spoken form. This condition is caused by diseases which affect the language areas of the dominant hemisphere. Clinical features are used to classify the various subtypes of this condition. General categories include receptive, expressive, and mixed forms of aphasia.

An aphasia characterized by impairment of expressive language (speech, writing, signs) and relative preservation of receptive language abilities (i.e., comprehension). This condition is caused by lesions of the motor association cortex in the frontal lobe (Broca's area and adjacent cortical and white matter regions). The deficits range from almost complete muteness to a reduction in the fluency and rate of speech. CEREBROVASCULAR ACCIDENTS (in particular INFARCTION, MIDDLE CEREBRAL ARTERY) are a relatively common cause of this condition. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, pp478-9)

Functional region comprising posterior part of the SUPERIOR TEMPORAL GYRUS in the dominant cerebral hemisphere (see CEREBRAL DOMINANCE) and often portions of the PARIETAL LOBE. Along with BROCA AREA it is important in SPEECH and LANGUAGE processes. A lesion in the area is associated with WERNICKE APHASIA and CONDUCTION APHASIA.

A syndrome characterized by the onset of isolated language dysfunction in otherwise normal children (age of onset 4-7 years) and epileptiform discharges on ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAPHY. Seizures, including atypical absence (EPILEPSY, ABSENCE), complex partial (EPILEPSY, COMPLEX PARTIAL), and other types may occur. The electroencephalographic abnormalities and seizures tend to resolve by puberty. The language disorder may also resolve although some individuals are left with severe language dysfunction, including APHASIA and auditory AGNOSIA. (From Menkes, Textbook of Child Neurology, 5th ed, pp749-50; J Child Neurol 1997 Nov;12(8):489-495)

Tests designed to assess language behavior and abilities. They include tests of vocabulary, comprehension, grammar and functional use of language, e.g., Development Sentence Scoring, Receptive-Expressive Emergent Language Scale, Parsons Language Sample, Utah Test of Language Development, Michigan Language Inventory and Verbal Language Development Scale, Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities, Northwestern Syntax Screening Test, Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Ammons Full-Range Picture Vocabulary Test, and Assessment of Children's Language Comprehension.

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