Authors: Starrfelt R, Ólafsdóttir RR, Arendt IM
Title: Rehabilitation of pure alexia: A review
Source: Neuropsychological Rehabilitation 2013 23(5): 755-779
Year: 2013
Research Design: Systematic Review

Acquired reading problems caused by brain injury (alexia) are common, either as a part of an aphasic syndrome, or as an isolated symptom. In pure alexia, reading is impaired while other language functions, including writing, are spared. Being in many ways a simple syndrome, one would think that pure alexia was an easy target for rehabilitation efforts. We review the literature on rehabilitation of pure alexia from 1990 to the present, and find that patients differ widely on several dimensions, such as alexia severity and associated deficits. Many patients reported to have pure alexia in the reviewed studies, have associated deficits such as agraphia or aphasia and thus do not strictly conform to the diagnosis. Few studies report clear and generalisable effects of training, none report control data, and in many cases the reported findings are not supported by statistics. We can, however, tentatively conclude that Multiple Oral Re-reading techniques may have some effect in mild pure alexia where diminished reading speed is the main problem, while Tacile-Kinesthetic training may improve letter identification in more severe cases of alexia. There is, however, still a great need for well-designed and controlled studies of rehabilitation of pure alexia.

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