New Edith Cowan University research has found that intensive therapy isn’t necessarily best on the subject of treating the loss of language and communication in early recovery after a stroke.
The research, published in the International Publication of Stroke, found that unlike physical and motor skill rehabilitation, recovering missing language caused by a condition referred to as aphasia after stroke is a marathon, not a dash. It also showed that early intervention is an important.
Lead creator, Associate Professor Erin Godecke from ECU’s School of Medical and Health Sciences, said the findings have important implications for the remedy of aphasia because they intent service delivery options are likely to change.
“Prior to now people with aphasia got the majority of their therapy in the first 6-8 weeks after stroke,” Professor Godecke said.
“Our research shows that there is not any benefit to this. It is likely that the same therapy could be spread over a longer period to reinforce recovery, fairly than getting a burst at the start and very little over the next months or years,” she said.
Aphasia is a neurological disorder affecting spoken language, comprehension, reading and writing. It affects one-third of around 17 million people worldwide who experience a stroke every year and is treated with speech therapy.
Early care is imperative, but not intensity.
Professor Godecke said aphasia therapy and early intervention are vitally important for recovery outcomes after stroke. Alternatively, increasing the intensity of the remedy doesn’t equate to better results.
“We found that when we given early aphasia therapy people had a massive increase in their ability to convey at 12 and 26 weeks after their stroke. They could talk better and had less difficulty finding and the usage of the correct words.
“Importantly though, we also found that whether we given around 10 hours of therapy per week as opposed to almost 23 hours a week the results weren’t any different. We didn’t see any harm, but we didn’t see any benefit,” Professor Godecke said.
Language recovery is different from motor recovery
Professor Godecke said the way people get well motor skills after a stroke is different to how they regain language.
“We generally tend to consider that more intensive is all the time better. Alternatively, we’re beginning to see data emerge to show us that language recovery might behave a little in a different way to motor recovery functions such as walking, moving your arm or sitting up,” she said.
“We don’t need relatively as intensive a regimen for language as we do for walking recovery. We might need an identical quantity of remedy, just spread over a longer period.”
Professor Godecke said the difficulty level, or intensity, of the aphasia therapy, must be tailor-made to what the person can tolerate.
“Because language is a higher-order operate and it involves more thinking time and cognitive skill, having breaks between sessions may help consolidate learning,” Professor Godecke said.
“It’s akin to running on a treadmill – you’ll be able to only run on the treadmill whether you’ll be able to walk.
“There’s no benefit having someone run at full speed when you’ll be able to have them run at a moderate pace, get the learning they need, keep it for longer and build on it,” she said.
The Very Early Rehabilitation for Speech (VERSE) study at ECU is the first international aphasia trial. The study aimed to resolve if intensive aphasia therapy, beginning inside 14 days after stroke, improved communication recovery in comparison to usual care.
Researchers recruited 246 participants with aphasia after stroke from 17 acute-care hospitals across Australia and New Zealand. Participants either received the standard level of aphasia therapy or one of two higher intensity regimens.
The ECU study found early intensive aphasia therapy did not support communication recovery inside 12 weeks post-stroke in comparison to usual care.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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