CUMC logoAphasia is a language disorder that may occur after a brain injury especially stroke. Experts from the NewYork – Presbyterian Hospital / Columbia University Medical Center claim to have established a means to forecast post-stroke recovery of language by measuring the initial severity of impairment. Prediction of stroke recovery seems to be extremely beneficial for stroke survivors and their families.

Earlier scientists held the opinion that factors such as size of the stroke, patient age and education, and specific characteristics of the type of language deficit can determine recovery. But a definite metric predicting the precise recovery was not available. In the latest research, investigators employed Western Aphasia Battery (WAB) test for evaluating language function at 24 – 72 hours after the occurrence of a stroke. The researchers mentioned that the test was again used at 90 days.

“These results indicate that if we know the extent of the initial impairment following stroke, then we can predict with remarkable accuracy how patients will function 90 days later. We have established the first reliable metric of the current standard care for post-stroke language treatment, and a standard against which future treatments can be compared,” remarked Ronald M. Lazar, Ph.D., professor of clinical neuropsychology in neurology and neurological surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, and a neuropsychologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

Patients suffering with an acute stroke supposedly developed mild to moderate aphasia. In the WAB score the change was displayed between baseline and 90 days. Patients given aphasia therapy registered a maximum recovery of 70 percent. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke ascertains that almost 25 percent of all stroke survivors face language impairments. Such impairments may hamper their ability to speak, write, and understand spoken and written language. It was ascertained that stroke-induced harm to any of the brain’s language-control centers can significantly impede verbal communication.

The research is published online in the journal Stroke.