Authors: Wisenburn B, Mahoney K
Title: A meta-analysis of word-finding treatments for aphasia
Source: Aphasiology 2009 23(11): 1338-1352
Year: 2009
Research Design: Systematic Review

BACKGROUND: The research literature on treatment methods for word-finding deficits in aphasia is extensive. A meta-analysis of studies for word-finding therapy was conducted in order to objectively synthesise this information to answer large-scale questions of treatment efficacy. AIMS: The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of various treatment approaches for word-finding deficits for individuals with aphasia. This analysis also examined gains made to trained and untrained words, the level of maintenance after therapy, and the effect of the time post-onset of aphasia on the recovery of language function. METHODS and PROCEDURES: Various search methods were used to gather anomia treatment studies for this analysis. From 44 studies, 107 effect sizes were calculated for the final analysis. These data were sorted according to the following moderator variables: treatment category (semantic, phonological, or mixed), word set (trained, exposed-related, exposed-unrelated, unexposed-unrelated, and unexposed-related), follow-up measures, and median number of months post-onset. OUTCOMES and RESULTS: All therapy approaches showed evidence of efficacy, although the variance between studies was large. Strong gains were seen for trained and exposed words, but only minor gains for unexposed words. Large effects were seen for up to 2 months post-therapy, with lingering effects at 3 months post-therapy. Treatment appeared efficacious even for individuals that were years post-onset. CONCLUSIONS: An objective synthesis of the literature shows that intervention for word-finding deficits is efficacious. However, the level of gains varied widely across studies and therapy approaches. As expected, little generalisation was found for untrained-unexposed words. Adapted from the source document

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