Post-Stroke Aphasia and Working Memory Training

“Working memory training in post-stroke aphasia: Near and far transfer effects”

Purpose

Individuals with aphasia (IWA) show various impairments in speech, language, and cognitive functions. Working memory (WM), a cognitive system that functions to hold and manipulate information in support of complex, goal-directed behaviors, is one of the impaired cognitive domains in aphasia. The present study intended to examine the effects of a WM training program on both memory and language performance in IWA.

Method

This quasi-experimental study with an active control group was performed on 25 people with mild or moderate Broca’s aphasia aged 29–61 years resulting from left hemisphere damage following ischemic stroke. Participants were assigned into two groups, including a training group (n = 13) and a control group (n = 12). The treatment and control groups received WM training and routine speech therapy, respectively. Two separate lists of WM tests, including one list for both pre-training assessment and training program and a second list for the post-training assessment, were used in this study.

Results

The treatment group showed significant improvements in both trained and non-trained WM tasks (near transfer effect) and language performance (far transfer effect) compared to the control group.

Conclusion

Given the good generalizability of the WM training program on both WM and language performance, WM training is suggested as part of the rehabilitation program in aphasia.

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