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Constraint-Induced Therapy Of Chronic Aphasia Following Stroke
PULVERMULLER, F., Neininger, B., Elbert, T.E., Mohr, B., Rockstroh, B., Koebbel, P. & Taub, E.
Stroke, 32, 1621-1626
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Patients with chronic aphasia were randomly assigned to groups receiving either conventional aphasia therapy or Constraint-Induced (CI) Aphasia therapy, a new therapeutic technique requiring intense practice over a relatively short period of consecutive days. CI Aphasia therapy is realised in a communicative therapeutic environment constraining the patients to systematically practice speech acts they have difficulty with. Patients in both groups received the same amount of treatment (30-35 hours) given either in 10 days of massed-practice language exercises in the CI Aphasia therapy group (3 h/d minimum; 10 patients) or within a longer period of ~4 weeks in the conventional therapy group (7 patients). CI Aphasia therapy led to significant and pronounced improvements on several standard clinical tests, on self-ratings and on blind observer ratings of the patients' communicative effectiveness in everyday life. Patients receiving the control intervention failed to achieve comparable improvements. The data suggest that the language of patients with chronic aphasia can be improved in a short period using an appropriate massed-practice technique focussing on the patients' communicative needs.