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Long-term stability of short-term intensive language–action therapy in chronic aphasia: A 1–2 year follow-up study

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Stahl,  Benjamin
Department of Neurology, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Germany;
Department of Neurology, Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald, Germany;
Department Neurophysics (Weiskopf), MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Psychologische Hochschule Berlin, Germany;

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Citation

Doppelbauer, L., Mohr, B., Dreyer, F. R., Stahl, B., Büscher, V., & Pulvermüller, F. (2021). Long-term stability of short-term intensive language–action therapy in chronic aphasia: A 1–2 year follow-up study. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 35(10), 861-870. doi:10.1177/15459683211029235.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-23D0-4
Abstract
Background. Intensive aphasia therapy can improve language functions in chronic aphasia over a short therapy interval of 2-4 weeks. For one intensive method, intensive language-action therapy, beneficial effects are well documented by a range of randomized controlled trials. However, it is unclear to date whether therapy-related improvements are maintained over years. Objective. The current study aimed at investigating long-term stability of ILAT treatment effects over circa 1-2 years (8-30 months). Methods. 38 patients with chronic aphasia participated in ILAT and were re-assessed at a follow-up assessment 8-30 months after treatment, which had been delivered 6-12.5 hours per week for 2-4 weeks. Results. A standardized clinical aphasia battery, the Aachen Aphasia Test, revealed significant improvements with ILAT that were maintained for up to 2.5 years. Improvements were relatively better preserved in comparatively young patients (<60 years). Measures of communicative efficacy confirmed improvements during intensive therapy but showed inconsistent long-term stability effects. Conclusions. The present data indicate that gains resulting from intensive speech-language therapy with ILAT are maintained up to 2.5 years after the end of treatment. We discuss this novel finding in light of a possible move from sparse to intensive therapy regimes in clinical practice.