New Australian research looks set to revolutionise the way stroke patients are treated if they lose their ability to talk.
Edith Cowan University (ECU) researchers have found that the current method of intensive therapy to regain language soon after a stroke is not necessarily the best approach.
The research uncovered the fact that, unlike physical and motor skill rehabilitation, recovering lost language — a neurological condition called aphasia — is a marathon, not a sprint.
A third of stroke patients develop aphasia, which affects spoken language, comprehension, reading and writing.
Though some early intervention is still critical, Associate Professor Erin Godecke, from ECU’s School of Medical and Health Sciences, said aphasia treatment is now likely to change.
“Previously 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 no benefit to this. It is likely that the same therapy could be spread over a longer period to enhance recovery, rather than getting a burst at the start and very little over the next months or years.”
“Because language is a higher-order function and it involves more thinking time and cognitive skill, having breaks between sessions may help consolidate learning,” Professor Godecke said.
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