Authors: Thompson CK, Choy JJ, Holland A, Cole R
Title: Sentactics[R]: Computer-automated treatment of underlying forms
Source: Aphasiology 2010 24(10): 1242-1266
Year: 2010
Research Design: Non Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 03/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - N
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - N
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - N
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

Background: Treatment of underlying forms (TUF) is a linguistically based treatment for improving agrammatic sentence deficits. It enjoys a substantial database attesting to its efficacy for improving both sentence comprehension and production in agrammatic aphasia. However, TUF requires considerable linguistic background to administer, and administration time can exceed the number of treatment sessions allotted in toto for reimbursement by third-party payors in the United States. Thus Sentactics, an interactive computer system that enables delivery of TUF by a virtual clinician, was developed. Aims: This study tested the effects of Sentactics on the acquisition and generalised production and comprehension of complex sentences. Additionally, a direct comparison of the results of computer-delivered Sentactics and clinician-delivered TUF was undertaken. Methods and Procedures: A total of 12 agrammatic aphasic speakers participated in the study, with 6 receiving Sentactics and 6 serving as experimental controls who received no treatment. All participants were administered pre- and post-treatment sentence comprehension and production tests and other measures to evaluate the effects of Sentactics. Performance of the Sentactics group was also compared to eight agrammatic patients who previously received clinician-delivered TUF treatment identical to that delivered via Sentactics, but with a human clinician. Outcomes and Results: Sentactics significantly improved all six aphasic speakers' ability to comprehend and produce both trained and untrained, linguistically related, complex sentences as compared to six agrammatic control participants who did not receive Sentactics. In addition, comparing the results of Sentactics to clinician-delivered TUF revealed no significant differences between approaches with regard to acquisition or generalisation patterns. Conclusions: These data provide further support for the efficacy of TUF and demonstrate the viability of computer-delivered therapies in the field of aphasia treatment.

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