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      Effectiveness of an impairment-based individualized rehabilitation program using an iPad-based software platform

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          The delivery of tablet-based rehabilitation for individuals with post-stroke aphasia is relatively new, therefore, this study examined the effectiveness of an iPad-based therapy to demonstrate improvement in specific therapy tasks and how the tasks affect overall language and cognitive skills. Fifty-one individuals with aphasia due to a stroke or traumatic brain injury ( TBI) were recruited to use an iPad-based software platform, Constant Therapy, for a 10 week therapy program. Participants were split into an experimental ( N = 42) and control ( N = 9) group. Both experimental and control participants received a 1 h clinic session with a clinician once a week, the experimental participants additionally practiced the therapy at home. Participants did not differ in the duration of the therapy and both groups of participants showed improvement over time in the tasks used for the therapy. However, experimental participants used the application more often and showed greater changes in accuracy and latency on the tasks than the control participants; experimental participants' severity level at baseline as measured by standardized tests of language and cognitive skills were a factor in improvement on the tasks. Subgroups of task co-improvement appear to occur between different language tasks, between different cognitive tasks, and across both domains. Finally, experimental participants showed more significant and positive changes due to therapy in their standardized tests than control participants. These results provide preliminary evidence for the usefulness of a tablet-based platform to deliver tailored language and cognitive therapy to individuals with aphasia.

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          Computerized working memory training after stroke--a pilot study.

          To examine the effects of working memory (WM) training in adult patients with stroke. A randomized pilot study with a treatment group and a passive control group; 18 participants (12 males) in a vocational age group (mean age 54 years) were randomized to either the treatment or the control condition. The intervention consisted of computerized training on various WM tasks for five weeks. A neuropsychological test battery and self-rating on cognitive functioning in daily life (the CFQ) were administered both before and after the treatment. Statistically significant training effects were found on the non-trained tests for WM and attention, i.e., tests that measure related cognitive functions but are not identical to tasks in the training programme (Span board p < 0.05; PASAT p < 0.001; Ruff 2&7 p < 0.005). There was a significant decrease in symptoms of cognitive problems as measured by the CFQ (p < 0.005). More than one year after a stroke, systematic WM training can significantly improve WM and attention.
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            Computer-based cognitive training for mild cognitive impairment: results from a pilot randomized, controlled trial.

            We performed a pilot randomized, controlled trial of intensive, computer-based cognitive training in 47 subjects with mild cognitive impairment. The intervention group performed exercises specifically designed to improve auditory processing speed and accuracy for 100 min/d, 5 d/wk for 6 weeks; the control group performed more passive computer activities (reading, listening, visuospatial game) for similar amounts of time. Subjects had a mean age of 74 years and 60% were men; 77% successfully completed training. On our primary outcome, Repeatable Battery for Assessment of Neuropsychological Status total scores improved 0.36 standard deviations (SD) in the intervention group (P=0.097) compared with 0.03 SD in the control group (P=0.88) for a nonsignificant difference between the groups of 0.33 SD (P=0.26). On 12 secondary outcome measures, most differences between the groups were not statistically significant. However, we observed a pattern in which effect sizes for verbal learning and memory measures tended to favor the intervention group whereas effect sizes for language and visuospatial function measures tended to favor the control group, which raises the possibility that these training programs may have domain-specific effects. We conclude that intensive, computer-based mental activity is feasible in subjects with mild cognitive impairment and that larger trials are warranted.
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              Speech and language therapy for aphasia following stroke.

              Aphasia is an acquired language impairment following brain damage that affects some or all language modalities: expression and understanding of speech, reading and writing. Approximately one-third of people who have a stroke experience aphasia. To assess the effectiveness of speech and language therapy (SLT) for aphasia following stroke. We searched the Cochrane Stroke Group Trials Register (last searched June 2011), MEDLINE (1966 to July 2011) and CINAHL (1982 to July 2011). In an effort to identify further published, unpublished and ongoing trials we handsearched the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders (1969 to 2005) and reference lists of relevant articles and contacted academic institutions and other researchers. There were no language restrictions. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing SLT (a formal intervention that aims to improve language and communication abilities, activity and participation) with (1) no SLT; (2) social support or stimulation (an intervention that provides social support and communication stimulation but does not include targeted therapeutic interventions); and (3) another SLT intervention (which differed in duration, intensity, frequency, intervention methodology or theoretical approach). We independently extracted the data and assessed the quality of included trials. We sought missing data from investigators. We included 39 RCTs (51 randomised comparisons) involving 2518 participants in this review. Nineteen randomised comparisons (1414 participants) compared SLT with no SLT where SLT resulted in significant benefits to patients' functional communication (standardised mean difference (SMD) 0.30, 95% CI 0.08 to 0.52, P = 0.008), receptive and expressive language. Seven randomised comparisons (432 participants) compared SLT with social support and stimulation but found no evidence of a difference in functional communication. Twenty-five randomised comparisons (910 participants) compared two approaches to SLT. There was no indication of a difference in functional communication. Generally, the trials randomised small numbers of participants across a range of characteristics (age, time since stroke and severity profiles), interventions and outcomes. Suitable statistical data were unavailable for several measures. Our review provides some evidence of the effectiveness of SLT for people with aphasia following stroke in terms of improved functional communication, receptive and expressive language. However, some trials were poorly reported. The potential benefits of intensive SLT over conventional SLT were confounded by a significantly higher dropout from intensive SLT. More participants also withdrew from social support than SLT interventions. There was insufficient evidence to draw any conclusion regarding the effectiveness of any one specific SLT approach over another.

                Author and article information

                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front. Hum. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                05 January 2015
                : 8
                1Aphasia Research Laboratory, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Sargent College, Boston University Boston, MA, USA
                2Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Boston University Boston, MA, USA
                Author notes

                Edited by: Arthur M. Jacobs, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

                Reviewed by: Tatjana A. Nazir, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France; Jacquie Kurland, UMass Amherst, USA

                *Correspondence: Carrie A. Des Roches, Aphasia Research Laboratory, Speech, Hearing, and Language Sciences, Sargent College, Boston University, 635 Commonwealth Avenue, Rm. 326, Boston, MA 02215, USA e-mail: cadesroc@ 123456gmail.com

                This article was submitted to the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

                Copyright © 2015 Des Roches, Balachandran, Ascenso, Tripodis and Kiran.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 6, Tables: 9, Equations: 0, References: 43, Pages: 29, Words: 14598
                Original Research Article


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