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A Trial Investigating Telerehabilitation as an add-on to Face-to-face Speech and Language Therapy in Post-stroke Aphasia.

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03228264
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : July 24, 2017
Last Update Posted : July 26, 2018
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of Bern

Brief Summary:
The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of high-frequency short duration tablet-based speech and language therapy (teleSLT) mixed with cognitive training (teleCT) in chronic stroke patients. Recent studies suggest that chronic stroke patients benefit from SLT with high frequency and that cognitive abilities can play a role in sentence comprehension and production by individuals with aphasia. To investigate the effects of the distribution of training time for teleSLT and teleCT the investigators use two combinations. In the experimental group 80% of the training time will be devoted to teleSLT and 20% to teleCT whereas in the control group 20% of the training time will be devoted to teleSLT and 80% to teleCT. Both groups receive the same total amount and frequency of intervention but with different distributions. At three time points (pre-, post-test and 8 week follow-up) the patients' word finding ability is measured.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Aphasia Chronic Stroke Post Stroke Seizure Device: teleSLT Device: teleCT Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

A recent Cochrane intervention review revealed evidence for the effectiveness of using speech and language therapy (SLT) for people with aphasia following stroke in terms of functional communication, receptive and expressive language. The authors highlight positive effects of higher training frequency on functional outcome. Also other authors emphasizes the importance of training frequency. In the meta-analysis with 968 patients the authors found that only intervention studies with more than five hours training per week lead to positive effects on speech and language function. They highlighted that it might be better to train short but with a high frequency than long with a low frequency. While some researchers emphasizes the benefit of early intervention, several studies found that also chronic stroke patients can benefit from intensive SLT. One possible approach to increase training frequency and duration is to complement therapist delivered usual care SLT (ucSLT) with telerehabilitation SLT (teleSLT) delivered in the patient's home.

Aphasia is frequently accompanied by deficits of working memory (WM), speed of processing (SP) and executive functions (EF). Recent studies suggest that these cognitive abilities can play a role in sentence comprehension and production by individuals with aphasia and that WM, SP and EF can be enhanced with intensive practice. The authors suggest that SLT therapy should be accompanied with cognitive training (CT). It remains however unclear what percentage of the training time should be devoted to SLT and to cognitive training respectively. For the current study the investigators will use two combinations of teleSLT and telerehabilitation cognitive training (teleCT), where one combination will have a higher percentage of time devoted to teleSLT and the other a higher percentage devoted to teleCT. The latter will serve as the control group to examine the effect of teleSLT.


Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 100 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Intervention Model Description: This study is designed as a randomized, controlled, evaluator-blinded multi-center superiority trial with two parallel groups and with word finding ability as primary endpoint at the end of the intervention. Aphasia outpatients will be recruited and randomly assigned to the experimental or control group. The randomization will be stratified by the study centre (Bern, Luzern) and the severety of aphasia (mild with a raw value/T-value smaller than 5/52, severe with a raw value/T-value greater or equal to 5/52 for the Token Test). Both groups will do a four weeks intensive tablet-delivered telerehabilitation training (2 hours a day).
Masking: Single (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A Randomized Controlled, Evaluator-blinded, Multi-center Trial Investigating Telerehabilitation as an add-on to Face-to-face Speech and Language Therapy in Post-stroke Aphasia.
Estimated Study Start Date : August 2018
Estimated Primary Completion Date : November 2020
Estimated Study Completion Date : November 2020

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Aphasia

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: High teleSLT frequency
During four weeks all patients will do a daily two-hour training session with a tablet computer (consisting of teleSLT and teleCT) at their home. In the experimental group 80% of the training time will be devoted to teleSLT and 20% to teleCT. Both groups receive the same amount of ucSLT.
Device: teleSLT
The teleSLT intervention consists of a daily training session with a tablet computer at the patients' home. The teleSLT application that will be used for this study was developed within a multidisciplinary team of speech and language therapists, neurologists and computer engineers that have transferred well-established SLT exercises to a tablet computer. The investigators call this application Bern Aphasia App (BAA). During the four weeks the training time with the BAA differs between the two arms. The experimental group trains for 96 minutes per day (80% of two hours) and the control group for 24 minutes per day (20% of two hours).

Device: teleCT
For the cognitive training the investigators will use two custom-made versions of popular commercial casual puzzle video games: Flow Free (Big Duck Games LCC) and Bejeweled (PopCap Games). The video games are also delivered on tablet-computers. Again, during the four weeks the training time differs between the two arms. The experimental group trains for 24 minutes and the control group for 96 minutes per day.

Active Comparator: Low teleSLT frequency
During four weeks all patients will do a daily two-hour training session with a tablet computer (consisting of teleSLT and teleCT) at their home. In the control group 20% of the training time will be devoted to teleSLT and 80% to teleCT. Both groups receive the same amount of ucSLT.
Device: teleSLT
The teleSLT intervention consists of a daily training session with a tablet computer at the patients' home. The teleSLT application that will be used for this study was developed within a multidisciplinary team of speech and language therapists, neurologists and computer engineers that have transferred well-established SLT exercises to a tablet computer. The investigators call this application Bern Aphasia App (BAA). During the four weeks the training time with the BAA differs between the two arms. The experimental group trains for 96 minutes per day (80% of two hours) and the control group for 24 minutes per day (20% of two hours).

Device: teleCT
For the cognitive training the investigators will use two custom-made versions of popular commercial casual puzzle video games: Flow Free (Big Duck Games LCC) and Bejeweled (PopCap Games). The video games are also delivered on tablet-computers. Again, during the four weeks the training time differs between the two arms. The experimental group trains for 24 minutes and the control group for 96 minutes per day.




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Understandability of verbal communication [ Time Frame: Pre-test (Baseline, week 0) ]
    The understandability of verbal communication is assessed with the A-scale of the Amsterdam-Nijmegen Everyday Language Test (ANELT). For this scale, oral answers in ten everyday life scenarios are scored with respect to understandability of the message, i.e. the content of the message independent of the linguistic form of the utterance (Blomert, Kean, Koster, & Schokker, 1994). The measurement is performed in a face-to-face interaction between the patients and the evaluator and takes place at the beginning of the intervention.

  2. Understandability of verbal communication [ Time Frame: Post-test (Change from Baseline at week 4) ]
    The understandability of verbal communication is assessed with the A-scale of the Amsterdam-Nijmegen Everyday Language Test (ANELT). For this scale, oral answers in ten everyday life scenarios are scored with respect to understandability of the message, i.e. the content of the message independent of the linguistic form of the utterance (Blomert, Kean, Koster, & Schokker, 1994). The measurement is performed in a face-to-face interaction between the patients and the evaluator and takes place at the end of the intervention.

  3. Understandability of verbal communication [ Time Frame: 8 week follow-up (Change from Baseline at week 12) ]
    The understandability of verbal communication is assessed with the A-scale of the Amsterdam-Nijmegen Everyday Language Test (ANELT). For this scale, oral answers in ten everyday life scenarios are scored with respect to understandability of the message, i.e. the content of the message independent of the linguistic form of the utterance (Blomert, Kean, Koster, & Schokker, 1994). The measurement is performed in a face-to-face interaction between the patients and the evaluator and takes place eight weeks after the intervention.


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Intelligibility of verbal communication [ Time Frame: Pre-test (Baseline, week 0) ]
    The intelligibility of verbal communication is assessed with the B-scale of the Amsterdam-Nijmegen Everyday Language Test (ANELT). For this scale, oral answers in ten everyday life scenarios (same situation as for the A-scale of ANELT) are scored with respect to the intelligibility of the utterance, i.e. the perception of the utterance independent of the content or the meaning (Blomert et al., 1994). The measurement is performed in a face-to-face interaction between the patients and the evaluator and takes place at the beginning of the intervention.

  2. Intelligibility of verbal communication [ Time Frame: Post-test (Change from Baseline at week 4) ]
    The intelligibility of verbal communication is assessed with the B-scale of the Amsterdam-Nijmegen Everyday Language Test (ANELT). For this scale, oral answers in ten everyday life scenarios (same situation as for the A-scale of ANELT) are scored with respect to the intelligibility of the utterance, i.e. the perception of the utterance independent of the content or the meaning (Blomert et al., 1994). The measurement is performed in a face-to-face interaction between the patients and the evaluator and takes place at the end of the intervention.

  3. Intelligibility of verbal communication [ Time Frame: 8 week follow-up (Change from Baseline at week 12) ]
    The intelligibility of verbal communication is assessed with the B-scale of the Amsterdam-Nijmegen Everyday Language Test (ANELT). For this scale, oral answers in ten everyday life scenarios (same situation as for the A-scale of ANELT) are scored with respect to the intelligibility of the utterance, i.e. the perception of the utterance independent of the content or the meaning (Blomert et al., 1994). The measurement is performed in a face-to-face interaction between the patients and the evaluator and takes place eight weeks after the intervention.

  4. Impairment specific language measures [ Time Frame: Pre-test (Baseline, week 0) ]
    The impairment specific language measures are assessed with "Sprachsystematisches APhasie Screening" (SAPS). The SAPS assesses comprehension (receptive) and production (expressive) abilities in the domains of phonetics and phonology (sub-lexical level), lexicon and semantic (lexical level) and morphology and syntax (morpho-syntactic level). For both modules (receptive and expressive) all three levels are divided into three difficulty levels. Based on these assessed comprehension and production abilities on all three levels it is possible to derive and evaluate disorder specific treatments (Blömer, Pesch, Willmes, Huber, Springer, & Abel, 2013). The measurement is performed in a face-to-face interaction between the patients and the evaluator and takes place at the beginning of the intervention.

  5. Impairment specific language measures [ Time Frame: Post-test (Change from Baseline at week 4) ]
    The impairment specific language measures are assessed with "Sprachsystematisches APhasie Screening" (SAPS). The SAPS assesses comprehension (receptive) and production (expressive) abilities in the domains of phonetics and phonology (sub-lexical level), lexicon and semantic (lexical level) and morphology and syntax (morpho-syntactic level). For both modules (receptive and expressive) all three levels are divided into three difficulty levels. Based on these assessed comprehension and production abilities on all three levels it is possible to derive and evaluate disorder specific treatments (Blömer, Pesch, Willmes, Huber, Springer, & Abel, 2013). The measurement is performed in a face-to-face interaction between the patients and the evaluator and takes place at the end of the intervention.

  6. Impairment specific language measures [ Time Frame: 8 week follow-up (Change from Baseline at week 12) ]
    The impairment specific language measures are assessed with "Sprachsystematisches APhasie Screening" (SAPS). The SAPS assesses comprehension (receptive) and production (expressive) abilities in the domains of phonetics and phonology (sub-lexical level), lexicon and semantic (lexical level) and morphology and syntax (morpho-syntactic level). For both modules (receptive and expressive) all three levels are divided into three difficulty levels. Based on these assessed comprehension and production abilities on all three levels it is possible to derive and evaluate disorder specific treatments (Blömer, Pesch, Willmes, Huber, Springer, & Abel, 2013). The measurement is performed in a face-to-face interaction between the patients and the evaluator and takes place eight weeks after the intervention.

  7. Perceived quality of life [ Time Frame: Pre-test (Baseline, week 0) ]
    The perceived quality of life is assessed with the Stroke and Aphasia Quality of Life Scale with 39 items in total (SAQOL-39) which is an interview-administered self-report scale consisting of the four subdomains physical, psychosocial, communication and energy (Hilari, Byng, & Smith, 2003). The measurement is performed in a face-to-face interaction between the patients and the evaluator and takes place at the beginning of the intervention.

  8. Perceived quality of life [ Time Frame: Post-test (Change from Baseline at week 4) ]
    The perceived quality of life is assessed with the Stroke and Aphasia Quality of Life Scale with 39 items in total (SAQOL-39) which is an interview-administered self-report scale consisting of the four subdomains physical, psychosocial, communication and energy (Hilari, Byng, & Smith, 2003). The measurement is performed in a face-to-face interaction between the patients and the evaluator and takes place at the end of the intervention.

  9. Perceived quality of life [ Time Frame: 8 week follow-up (Change from Baseline at week 12) ]
    The perceived quality of life is assessed with the Stroke and Aphasia Quality of Life Scale with 39 items in total (SAQOL-39) which is an interview-administered self-report scale consisting of the four subdomains physical, psychosocial, communication and energy (Hilari, Byng, & Smith, 2003). The measurement is performed in a face-to-face interaction between the patients and the evaluator and takes place eight weeks after the intervention.



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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Aged 18 or over.
  • Diagnosis of stroke, onset of stroke at least 3 months prior to inclusion
  • Diagnosis of aphasia due to stroke, as confirmed by a speech and language therapist.
  • Raw value for the German version of the Token Test (De Renzi & Vignolo, 1962) has to be smaller or equal to 8 (T-value smaller or equal to 60).
  • Sufficient vision and cognitive ability to work with the teleSLT software (a simple matching task on the tablet computer will be used to test this).
  • Written informed consent.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Any other pre-morbid speech and language disorder caused by a deficit other than stroke.
  • Requirement for treatment in language other than German.
  • Currently using a computer speech therapy software.

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 ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT03228264


Contacts
Contact: Tobias Nef, Prof. Dr. +41 31 632 74 78 tobias.nef@artorg.unibe.ch
Contact: René Müri, Prof. Dr. +41 31 632 30 81 rene.mueri@insel.ch

Locations
Switzerland
ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research Recruiting
Bern, Switzerland, 3008
Contact: Tobias Nef, Prof. Dr.    +41 31 632 74 78    tobias.nef@artorg.unibe.ch   
Sub-Investigator: Klemens Gutbrot, Prof. Dr.         
Sub-Investigator: Stephan Gerber, M.Sc.         
Sub-Investigator: Patric Wyss, M.Sc.         
Sub-Investigator: Corina Wyss, M.Sc.         
Sub-Investigator: Nadine Schmidt, B.Sc.         
Sub-Investigator: Arif Uslu, B.Sc.         
Center for Neurology and Neurorehabilitation Not yet recruiting
Lucerne, Switzerland, 6000
Contact: Thomas Nyffeler, Prof. Dr.    +41 41 205 56 86    thomas.nyffeler@luks.ch   
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Bern
Investigators
Principal Investigator: Tabias Nef, Prof. Dr. Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation, ARTORG Centre for Biomedical Engineering Research

Publications:
Blomert L, Kean ML, Koster C, Schokker, J. Amsterdam-Nijmegen everyday language test: construction, reliability and validity. Aphasiology 8(4): 381-407, 1994.
Blömer F, Pesch A, Willmes K, Huber W, Springer L, Abel S. Das sprachsystematische Aphasiescreening (SAPS): Konstruktionseigenschaften und erste Evaluierung. Zeitschrift für Neuropsychologie 24(3): 139-148, 2013.

Responsible Party: University of Bern
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03228264     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 2016-01577
First Posted: July 24, 2017    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: July 26, 2018
Last Verified: July 2018
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Stroke
Seizures
Aphasia
Cerebrovascular Disorders
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Vascular Diseases
Cardiovascular Diseases
Epilepsy
Neurologic Manifestations
Signs and Symptoms
Speech Disorders
Language Disorders
Communication Disorders
Neurobehavioral Manifestations