Browsing by Subject "Brocan afasia"

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  • Venäläinen, Sirje (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    Background and aims. The most common and persistent symptom of aphasia is word retrieval deficit, anomia. There is evidence of selective verb retrieval problems amongst non-fluent aphasic speakers. Training verbs in sentence context increases verb naming accuracy in naming tests and enhances verb usage and the use of well-formed syntactic structures in connected speech. Especially intensive interventions in which training takes place in communicative contexts may be beneficial. The aim of this study was to investigate whether a sentence-level verb intervention affects verb naming and the structures and vocabulary of the connected speech of Finnish non-fluent aphasic speakers. Methods. Two speakers with chronic Broca's aphasia participated in this study. Markku, a 35-year-old man, and Annikki, a 72-year-old woman, had both become aphasic due to a single stroke in the left hemisphere. The intervention programme lasted 6–7 weeks and consisted of 15 training sessions of 90 minutes (a total of 22,5 hours). In six different speech production tasks the participants were trained to place obligatory and optional sentence elements around a verb. The target was to promote verb usage in narratives. The effects of the intervention were evaluated by examining verb naming accuracy and speed in a naming test, by calculating the mean length of utterances and the proportion of empty speech in connected speech, and analysing the syntax and the vocabulary of narratives. Results. Markku's aphasia quotient (WAB) increased by 20 points after the intervention as his speech became more fluent and informative. There were no changes in Annikki's aphasia quotient. The intervention had no effect on verb naming in a verb naming test. Both participants produced longer narratives after the intervention, but at the same time the proportion of empty speech increased in Annikki's speech. The mean lengths of utterances didn't change after the intervention. The proportion of utterances including a finite verb increased slightly in Markku's narratives. Simultaneously, the proportion of clauses with an incomplete verb phrase or no verb phrase decreased slightly. The intervention had no effect on syntactic structures in Annikki's case. The number of different verbs increased in both participants' picture description narratives, although the change was much smaller in Annikki's case. There was some evidence in Markku's case that the intervention had a small effect on the vocabulary of personal narratives and descriptions of event sequences. Discussion. The results of this study provide preliminary support for the usefulness of sentence-level verb interventions in aphasia rehabilitation in Finland. The results indicate that this intervention can have a positive effect on the number of different verbs and the number of finite verbs used in non-fluent narratives. However, the response to the intervention seems to be highly individual. The next step would be to examine the efficacy of the intervention method in a larger scale study. The intervention could be modified by increasing the intensity of training and increasing the amount of training without picture support. The intervention method is applicable in the clinical world. In addition, an aphasic speaker and their significant other can train at home using the intervention tasks, so that possible intervention results could be better maintained after the intervention is withdrawn.