Background and purpose
Non-linguistic cognitive impairments may limit rehabilitation efficacy in patients with aphasia. The aim of this study was to determine whether post-stroke aphasia was associated with impairments of visuo-spatial working memory and abstract thinking and whether these deficits adversely affected language recovery.
Baseline visuo-spatial memory and abstract thinking abilities were assessed in 78 patients with post-stroke aphasia and 38 healthy controls. Then, 47 of the 78 patients with aphasia completed three weeks of speech and language training. Therapy outcome was assessed by comparing pre- and post-treatment scores on the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination.
Even though the patients' non-linguistic cognitive abilities were impaired in general, the patients were heterogeneous with regard to their deficits. Linguistic and non-linguistic deficits appeared to be distinct, although they could be concurrent. Visuo-spatial working memory was associated with the degree of improvement in two functions crucial to language communication: naming and comprehension. No relationship was found between language therapy outcome and abstract thinking ability.
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Published online: March 09, 2009
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