Modulating Intensity and Dosage of Aphasia Scripts

2019-10-29 14:36:35 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this study is to evaluate how changing conditions of speech-language treatment (namely, amount of repetition and distribution of practice schedule) affects the language outcome of participants with aphasia following a stroke. Using a computer based speech and language therapy program, participants will practice conversational scripts that are either short or long. Participants will practice for either 2 weeks (5 days a week) or for 5 weeks (2 days a week).


Determining the optimal intensity of treatment is essential to the design and implementation of any treatment program for aphasia. Yet, treatment intensity is a complex construct and information on the variables modulating it remain ambiguous and limited. Studies reported in the neuroscience and clinical literature support the need for intensive treatment to induce long-term neuroplastic changes while the cognitive psychology literature suggests that learning is best maintained with distributed schedules. A few studies have looked at dose parameters for single word naming tasks, but there is limited evidence regarding dose parameters for treatments that focus on training the production of larger units, such as sentences or even connected discourse. One approach that is frequently used clinically and has evidence for its efficacy is script training. Little is currently known regarding the optimum dose of script training (i.e., the number of repetitions over time of each sentence within the script) that is required to promote the best outcomes.

This study investigates the effects of modulating stimulus variables, specifically stimulus practice distribution and stimulus repetition. We use a baseline script treatment that has experimental support regarding its efficacy, and that allows the manipulation of these variables. To ensure independence and fidelity, treatment is provided in a controlled computer environment (desktop and tablet). To avoid clinician-related variables such as expertise and personality factors that may influence treatment, sentences are modeled during treatment by an anthropomorphic agent with high visual speech intelligibility and affective expressions.

With regard to "best outcomes", generalization is the ultimate goal of any treatment approach. Therefore, the primary outcome is a generalization measure of conversation. Secondary measures address short-term acquisition, longer-term maintenance, and stimulus and response generalization for assessing gain over baseline, differential effects, and interactions. A mobile-connected wireless wearable laryngeal sensor allows tracking of talk time at home and in the community as a measure of treatment effectiveness and transfer. For privacy, it does not record audio.

Results and computational models of learning (generalization, short-term acquisition, and longer-term maintenance) will contribute new evidence to fill critical gaps in current scientific understanding regarding the effectiveness and clinical application of aphasia treatment approaches. More generally, findings will help to inform clinical practice and treatment of neurologic communication disorders; the virtual clinician guided intervention that the proposal develops has the potential to reduce costly clinician-client time otherwise required for long-term rehabilitation.

Study Design




Script Training


Not yet recruiting


Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-10-29T14:36:35-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A type of fluent aphasia characterized by an impaired ability to repeat one and two word phrases, despite retained comprehension. This condition is associated with dominant hemisphere lesions involving the arcuate fasciculus (a white matter projection between Broca's and Wernicke's areas) and adjacent structures. Like patients with Wernicke aphasia (APHASIA, WERNICKE), patients with conduction aphasia are fluent but commit paraphasic errors during attempts at written and oral forms of communication. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p482; Brain & Bannister, Clinical Neurology, 7th ed, p142; Kandel et al., Principles of Neural Science, 3d ed, p848)

Financial support for training including both student stipends and loans and training grants to institutions.

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.

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.

On the job training programs for personnel carried out within an institution or agency. It includes orientation programs.

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