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.
Research: “Can prosody help patients with non-fluent aphasia regain their communication skills?”
Researcher: Dr. Maria Martzoukou
The research project “Can prosody help patients with non-fluent aphasia regain their communication skills?” was funded by the Research Centre for the Humanities (RCH) for the year 2019.
Although aphasia is a very common disorder, the neural processes that influence recovery continue to be unknown. As a result there still not specific, widely accepted aphasia therapies. Therapies based on prosodic-musical elements of speech, however, have been characterized as promising. Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT) is one of the most well-known treatment methods based on pitch and rhythm, which was developed to increase verbal output in adults with non-fluent aphasia. Although, MIT has been adapted to several languages (French, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish), in Greece it is almost unknown.
The aim of the proposed study was twofold: (1) to adapt the MIT to Greek, (2) to conduct an experimental study, examining the effect of MIT in Greek patients with Broca’s aphasia
To this aim, after the translation and adaptation of the MIT treatment to Greek, 2 patients with Broca’s aphasia took part in the present study, The results from both the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination and the SPECT, before the treatment, just after the treatment and three months after the completion of the MIT, revealed impressive improvement for both patients. Therefore MIT seems to be a promising intervention program for patients with Broca’s aphasia.
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