Authors: Dotson VM, Singletary F, Fuller R, Koehler S, Moore AB, Rothi LJG, Crosson B
Title: Treatment of word-finding deficits in fluent aphasia through the manipulation of spatial attention: Preliminary findings
Source: Aphasiology 2008 22(1): 103-113
Year: 2008
Research Design: Single Case Design

BACKGROUND: Attention, the processing of one source of information to the exclusion of others, is important for most cognitive processes, including language. Evidence suggests not only that dysfunctional attention mechanisms contribute to language deficits after stroke, but also that orienting attention to a patient's ipsilesional hemispace recruits attention mechanisms in the intact hemisphere and improves language functions in some persons with aphasia. AIMS: The aim of the current research was to offer proof of concept for the strategy of improving picture-naming performance in fluent aphasia by moving stimuli into the left hemispace. It was hypothesised that repeated orientation of attention to the ipsilesional hemispace during picture naming would lead to improved naming accuracy for participants with fluent aphasia. METHODS & PROCEDURES: Three participants with stable fluent aphasia received daily treatment sessions that consisted of naming simple line drawings presented 45 degrees to the left of body midline on a computer monitor. Naming probes were administered before initiation of the treatment protocol to establish a baseline, and before each treatment session to measure change during treatment. The C statistic was used to establish the stability of baseline performance and to determine whether the slope of the treatment phases differed significantly from the slope of the baseline. OUTCOMES & RESULTS: Two of the three participants showed significant improvement over baseline performance in the percent correct of naming probes. One participant showed no improvement over baseline accuracy. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that engaging right-hemisphere attention mechanisms may improve naming accuracy in some people with fluent aphasia. Findings justify further investigation of this treatment in a larger controlled study.

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