Therapy can still benefit older, long-time aphasia sufferers, study shows

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Therapy can improve language function and general cognition for seniors who have had aphasia for years, according to a recently published study.

To reach their conclusions, researchers at the Research Centre of the University Geriatrics Institute of Montreal performed neuroimaging on seniors with aphasia who underwent six weeks of intensive language therapy.

Study participants showed an improved vocabulary and ability to name objects. The neuroimaging revealed increased functioning of brain circuits associated with language, as well as 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, researchers said.

“We have shown that language therapy has a positive impact even long time after stroke, and not only on language but also on general cognition, as shown by the positive changes in the default network,” said researcher Ana Ines Ansaldo in a statement. “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.”

The study appears in the journal Brain and Language.

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