Revue de neuropsychologie


Therapy-induced neuroplasticity in aphasia: a better understanding of brain function for more efficient interventions Volume 7, issue 1, Janvier-Février-Mars 2015


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1 Laboratoire de plasticité cérébrale, communication et vieillissement, Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, 4545, chemin Queen-Mary, Montréal (QC) H3W 1W4, Canada
2 École d’orthophonie et d’audiologie, Faculté de médecine, Université de Montréal, 4545, chemin Queen-Mary, Montréal (QC) H3W 1W4, Canada
* Correspondance

The study of neuroplasticity mechanisms associated with language therapy is relatively recent. In the context of aphasia rehabilitation, the principles of neuroplasticity issued from animal research can be applied to speech therapy procedures with the aim of triggering brain plasticity.

In this article, we present evidence of neuroplasticity induced by language therapy. In particular, we examine the impact of a specific therapy administered according to principles of neuroplasticity, on the recovery of anomia in patients with chronic aphasia.

In addition, we explore the impact of language therapy on the integration level of two networks: the default mode network, and the canonical language-processing network.

Reported results highlight the clinical implications of neuroimaging studies, a specifically functional connectivity analysis both in regard to identifying optimal intervention approaches, as well as potential effects of language therapy on other domains of cognition. Specifically, the impact of language therapy on the default mode network integration shows that language therapy can improve integration in circuits other than language processing circuits. Moreover, the positive correlation between pre-therapy default mode network integration and therapy outcome, points to the prognostic value of this type of analysis. Future research on neuroplasticity will provide clinicians with cues about the most effective treatment options, depending on sustainability of brain networks and by considering observable efficiency markers before starting interventions. Furthermore, the results of the studies reported in this paper suggest that trans-disciplinary therapies could be better adapted to the interactivity that the brain displays during the recovery from aphasia.