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Enhancing Written Communication in Persons With Aphasia

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT01790880
Recruitment Status : Active, not recruiting
First Posted : February 13, 2013
Last Update Posted : August 16, 2019
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Leora Cherney, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

Brief Summary:
The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether a computerized speech-language treatment delivered by a virtual therapist (Oral Reading for Language in Aphasia (ORLA) + Writing) results in improved written communication skills of study participants with aphasia (i.e., difficulty with the comprehension and expression of spoken and written language).

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Aphasia Stroke Behavioral: ORLA Behavioral: ORLA + Writing Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the most common cause of disability in the United States. According to the American Stroke Association, the prevalence of stroke in the U.S. is approximately 4.8 million with approximately 700,000 additional strokes occurring annually. Approximately 150,000 to 250,000 stroke survivors becoming severely and permanently disabled each year. A common neurological deficit among stroke survivors, and thus a substantial contributor to post-stroke disability, is aphasia. The loss of, or difficulty with language is extremely debilitating.

Adequate written communication skills may be one of the barriers that has prevented individuals with aphasia from returning to work. Writing skills are also important for participation in social roles, such as household management, civic activities, or recreational activities with friends. Individuals with aphasia struggle to compose written documents such as personal letters, memos and reports. Furthermore, society's increased reliance on written forms of communication including email correspondence, instant messaging, texting, Twitter, and social networking sites such as Facebook, exacerbate the challenge that individuals with aphasia have in connecting with others, reestablishing and redefining their social roles and accomplishing their life-participation goals.

Computer-directed treatment offers a practical alternative to one-on-one traditional treatment provided by a clinician and may be a cost-effective way of extending therapy beyond the hospital and clinic to meet the needs of the growing numbers of individuals with chronic aphasia and to help them reintegrate into the community and workforce. This project evaluates the efficacy of a theoretically-motivated writing program that has been integrated with novel computer-based virtual therapy systems and that can be provided intensively to individuals with chronic aphasia.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 50 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Enhancing Written Communication in Persons With Aphasia: A Clinical Trial
Study Start Date : February 2013
Actual Primary Completion Date : December 2017
Estimated Study Completion Date : December 2019

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Aphasia

Arm Intervention/treatment
Active Comparator: ORLA
Practice on ORLA (Oral Reading for Language in Aphasia), a computer-based virtual therapy system, for 90 minutes per day, 6 days per week for 6 weeks.
Behavioral: ORLA
Practice on ORLA (Oral Reading for Language in Aphasia), a computer-based virtual therapy system.

Experimental: ORLA + Writing
Practice on "ORLA + writing" computer program, 90 minutes per day, 6 days per week, for 6 weeks.
Behavioral: ORLA + Writing
Treatment includes writing of sentences in combination with ORLA

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Writing Score on the Western Aphasia Battery-Revised (WAB-R) from pre-treatment to post-treatment [ Time Frame: Change from baseline to 6 weeks ]

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Western Aphasia Battery-Revised Aphasia Quotient (WAB-R AQ) [ Time Frame: Change from baseline to 6 weeks ]
  2. Written Language Sample Analysis [ Time Frame: Change from baseline to 6 weeks ]
    Written responses on the Picture Description task of the Western Aphasia Battery-Revised and on a written picture-sequenced story retelling task will be scored for Correct Information Units

  3. Communicative Effectiveness Index (CETI) [ Time Frame: Change from baseline to 6 weeks ]
  4. ASHA Quality of Communication Life Scale (QCL) [ Time Frame: Change from baseline to 6 weeks ]
  5. Community Integration Questionnaire (CIQ) [ Time Frame: Change from baseline to 6 weeks ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 80 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. men or women with diagnosis of an aphasia subsequent to a left-hemisphere infarct(s) that is confirmed by CT scan or MRI
  2. an Aphasia Quotient score on the Western Aphasia Battery of 50-85.
  3. 6 months post injury
  4. premorbidly right handed, determined by Edinburgh Handedness Inventory
  5. completed at least an eighth grade education
  6. premorbidly literate in English
  7. visual acuity may be corrected but must be sufficient for reading visual stimuli on computer screen
  8. auditory acuity may be aided but must be sufficient for hearing auditory stimuli in ORLA program

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. any other neurological condition (other than cerebral vascular disease) that could potentially affect cognition or speech, such as Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's Dementia, traumatic brain injury.
  2. any significant psychiatric history prior to the stroke, such as severe major depression or psychotic disorder requiring hospitalization; subjects with mood disorders who are currently stable on treatment will be considered.
  3. active substance abuse.


Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT01790880

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United States, Illinois
Center for Aphasia Research and Treatment, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois, United States, 60611
Sponsors and Collaborators
Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

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Responsible Party: Leora Cherney, Senior Research Scientist, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Identifier: NCT01790880     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 74374
First Posted: February 13, 2013    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: August 16, 2019
Last Verified: August 2019
Keywords provided by Leora Cherney, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab:
Speech Rehabilitation
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Nervous System Diseases
Speech Disorders
Language Disorders
Communication Disorders
Neurobehavioral Manifestations
Neurologic Manifestations
Signs and Symptoms