Authors: Kurland J, Pulvermuller F, Silva N, Burke K, Andrianopoulos M
Title: Constrained versus Unconstrained Intensive Language Therapy in Two Individuals with Chronic, Moderate-to-Severe Aphasia and Apraxia of Speech: Behavioral and fMRI Outcomes
Source: American Journal of Speech Language Pathology 2012 21(2): S65-S87
Year: 2012
Research Design: Single Case Design

Purpose: This Phase I study investigated behavioral and functional MRI (fMRI) outcomes of 2 intensive treatment programs to improve naming in 2 participants with chronic moderate-to-severe aphasia with comorbid apraxia of speech (AOS). Constraint-induced aphasia therapy (CIAT; Pulvermüller et al., 2001) has demonstrated positive outcomes in some individuals with chronic aphasia. Whether constraint to the speech modality or treatment intensity is responsible for such gains is still under investigation. Moreover, it remains to be seen whether CIAT is effective in individuals with persistent severe nonfluent speech and/or AOS. Method: A single-subject multiple-baseline approach was used. Both participants were treated simultaneously, first with Promoting Aphasics’ Communicative Effectiveness (PACE; , Davis & Wilcox, 1985) and then with CIAT. Pre-/posttreatment testing included an overt naming fMRI protocol. Treatment effect sizes were calculated for changes in probe accuracy from baseline to posttreatment phases and maintenance where available. Results: Both participants made more and faster gains in naming following CIAT. Treatment-induced changes in BOLD activation suggested that better naming was correlated with the recruitment of perilesional tissue. Conclusion: Participants produced more target words accurately following CIAT than following PACE. Behavioral and fMRI results support the notion that the intense and repetitive nature of obligatory speech production in CIAT has a positive effect on word retrieval, even in participants with chronic moderate-to-severe aphasia with comorbid AOS.

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