The Human Mind and Its Complexity

“Can prosody help patients with non-fluent aphasia regain their communication skills?”

Martzoukou Maria

Research ProposalPublications

Summary of the Research Proposal

Although aphasia is a very common disorder, the neural processes that influence recovery continue to be unknown. As a result,  specific, widely accepted aphasia therapies do not yet exist. Therapies based on prosodic-musical elements of speech, however, look promising. One of the most well-known treatment methods which is mainly based on pitch and rhythm, two characteristics of both prosody and music, is the Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT).

MIT was developed to increase verbal output in adults with non-fluent aphasia. While MIT has been adapted from English to several languages (French, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish) and many positive effects for patients have been reported, in Greece it is almost unknown.

The aim of the proposed study is to translate and adapt the MIT to Greek and to explore its efficiency by conducting an experimental study with Greek patients with non-fluent aphasia (Broca’s aphasia).

To this aim, after the translation and adaptation of the MIT to Greek, by making all the necessary changes to words, sentences and prosodic cues (rhythm, pitch), we will explore its efficiency by conducting an experimental study. Participants of the study will be 8 patients with Broca’s aphasia. Four of them will attend the MIT treatment for a 12-week period, while the rest of them, the control group, will go through the standard speech therapy treatment.

In order to get a clear view of the factors which may affect the effectiveness of the therapy (e.g. good perception of prosodic or/and musical cues), before the treatment, patients’ abilities to comprehend prosodic-musical cues, such as variations of the pitch, the rhythm, the duration and the intensity, will be explored. This evaluation will be performed through the use of a prosodic-musical element comprehension task, which will be created for this study.

Moreover, data from diagnostic tests (e.g. Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination; BDAE) and functional imaging techniques will be collected for each participant, before treatment, just after treatment and 3 months after the completion of the therapeutic program. In such a way, we should be able to assess the efficiency and the possible long-lasting positive effects of the MIT treatment.

Therefore, the proposed study will offer a prosodic-musical element comprehension test, the Greek version of MIT and experimental data from a systematic use of MIT in Greek patients with Broca’s aphasia.

Selected Publications

  • Clahsen H., Martzoukou M. & S. Stavrakaki (2010). Τhe perfective past tense in Greek as a second language. Second Language Research, 26 (4): 501-525.
  • Martzoukou M, Papadopoulou D. & M.H. Kosmidis (2017). The Comprehension of Syntactic and Affective Prosody by Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder Without Accompanying Cognitive Deficits. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 46 (6), 1573-1595.
  • Μαρτζούκου Μ. (2017). Σύνδρομο Asperger vs. Αυτισμός: περιγραφές, παρανοήσεις και διαγνωστικά κριτήρια. In Πρακτικά 1ου Πανελληνίου Συνεδρίου Επιστημολογίας (pp. 157-173). Καβάλα: Εκδόσεις Σαΐτα. (
  • Μαρτζούκου Μ., Παναγιωτίδης Α., Παπαγεωργίου Γ. & Γ., Νάσιος (2017). Η συντακτική προσωδία σε νέους και ηλικιωμένους ενήλικες. Στο Μελέτες για την ελληνική γλώσσα 37 (pp. 867-878). Θεσσαλονίκη: Ινστιτούτο Νεοελληνικών Σπουδών.
  • Nousia Α., Siokas V., Aretouli E., Messinis L., Aloizou A.M., Martzoukou M., Karala M., Koumpoulis Ch., Nasios G. & Dardiotis E. (2018). Beneficial effect of Multidomain Cognitive Training on the neuropsychological performance of patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Neural Plasticity, Volume 2018, Article ID 2845176,