Lecture in the C-STAR series, delivered by Maya Henry, PhD, CCC-SLP (University of Texas at Austin) at the University of South Carolina on February 27th, 2020.
Dr Henry’s Aphasia Research and Treatment Lab:
Title: Finding words: Speech-language intervention in primary progressive aphasia
Abstract: Speech-language impairment may be a prominent or primary feature of neurodegenerative disease (Gorno-Tempini et al., 2011). Although many studies document the benefits of behavioral intervention for aphasia caused by stroke, there is a relative paucity of research examining the benefits of treatment for patients with progressive aphasia (primary progressive aphasia (PPA) or language-prominent Alzheimer’s disease/MCI). I will present findings from several studies (Henry et al., 2018; 2019; Dial et al., 2019; Grasso et al., 2017) as well as additional data documenting the immediate and long-term benefits of treatment for speech and language in PPA and language-prominent AD/MCI. In addition to restitutive interventions, I will discuss interventions focused on compensatory adaptations such as augmentative and alternative communication and communication partner training. Results to-date document robust treatment effects immediately post-treatment, as well as maintenance of gains for the majority of participants, many up to one-year post-treatment. Generalization to untrained targets and tasks was observed for many participants, but was more pronounced for some clinical variants and treatment types. Neuroimaging data indicate that treatment-induced recovery of function is mediated by relatively spared regions within language and memory networks as well as language network homologues in the right hemisphere. Taken together, these findings offer compelling evidence in support of speech-language intervention for patients with PPA and other language-prominent dementia syndromes.