A recent study at the University Geriatrics Institute of Montreal shows that language therapy can have a positive impact on patients with long-term aphasia, even months or years after the patient’s initial trauma or stroke.

“My hope is that these findings will change clinical attitudes towards seniors who suffer from language disorders, by providing intensive, specific and focused stimulation for these patients. This therapy leads to very promising outcomes, even long after diagnosis,” University Geriatrics Institute of Montreal researcher and University of Montreal professor, Ana Inés Ansaldo, Ph.D, stated.

During the study, patients underwent six weeks of intensive language therapy, after which they demonstrated improved cognition and improved ability to name objects. Neuroimaging revealed that the therapy had stimulated the brains of the study participants to use alternate circuits for language skills. In fact, following therapy, default mode connectivity of study participants was similar to that of the control group. Six months after therapy the new circuits were still active, and patients were still showing signs of continued improvement.

The report also grabbed the attention of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News that reported the study, noting that results indicate “increased performance of a system called the default mode network, which is associated with brain activity that occurs when an individual is not performing a particular task.”

This study was originally published in Brain and Language, Volume 124, Issue 1.

By Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services