Older adults improve processing speed and other cognitive skills using Fast ForWord programs
This pilot study involved twelve people suffering from aphasia after a stroke, aged between 40 and 78 years. The majority of participants had experienced a stroke more than one year previously. All participants underwent a battery of tests and evaluations before receiving Fast ForWord treatment for eight weeks.
‘All patients received Fast ForWord training for 1.5 hours per day for a period of 8 weeks, for a total of 60 hours. They also received intensive one-on-one speech therapy with a speech language pathologist for exactly the same amount of time in the 8 weeks either before or after their Fast ForWord training. Order of treatment type was determined by random assignment.’
When the researchers re-tested all the participants at the end of the trial, they found that some of them had made significant improvements, while others had made no improvement. They concluded that the site of the brain injury determined whether Fast ForWord® exercises could help people to make progress using this treatment. They explained that the ‘…lesion site (as evaluated in Dronkers, 1996) was an excellent predictor of improvement in auditory comprehension with Fast ForWord. Severe-to-moderately impaired patients with lesions restricted to the superior temporal and inferior parietal cortex were seen to improve by 5 to 18% while those with larger lesions that also encompassed perisylvian frontal lobe structures did not improve.’
Dronkers, N.F., Husted, D.A., Deutsch, G., Taylor, K., Saunders, G. & Merzenich, M. (1999). Lesion site as a predictor of improvement after Fast ForWord treatment in adult aphasic patients, Brain and Language, 1999, 9(3):450-452
- Burns, M.S. (2008). Application of Neuroscience to Technology in Stroke Rehabilitation. Stroke Rehabilitation 1074-9357: Volume 15, Number 6.
- Research and Hope for Stroke Foundation’s review of Fast ForWord programs