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Front Hum Neurosci. 2015 Sep 24;9:520. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00520. eCollection 2015.

Rehabilitation of aphasia: application of melodic-rhythmic therapy to Italian language.

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Intensive Care Unit, S. Anna Institute and Research in Advanced Neurorehabilitation Crotone, Italy.
Casa di Cura Villa Margherita, San Giuseppe Moscati Institute Benevento, Italy.


Aphasia is a complex disorder, frequent after stroke (with an incidence of 38%), with a detailed pathophysiological characterization. Effective approaches are crucial for devising an efficient rehabilitative strategy, in order to address the everyday life and professional disability. Several rehabilitative procedures are based on psycholinguistic, cognitive, psychosocial or pragmatic approaches, including amongst those with a neurobehavioral approach the Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT). Van Eeckhout's adaptation of MIT to French language (Melodic-Rhythmic Therapy: MRT) has implemented the training strategy by adding a rhythmic structure reproducing French prosody. The purpose of this study was to adapt MRT rehabilitation procedures to Italian language and to verify its efficacy in a group of six chronic patients (five males) with severe non-fluent aphasia and without specific aphasic treatments during the previous 9 months. The patients were treated 4 days a week for 16 weeks, with sessions of 30-40 min. They were assessed 6 months after the end of the treatment (follow-up). The patients showed a significant improvement at the Aachener Aphasie Test (AAT) in different fields of spontaneous speech, with superimposable results at the follow-up. Albeit preliminary, these findings support the use of MRT in the rehabilitation after stroke. Specifically, MRT seems to benefit from its stronger structure than the available stimulation-facilitation procedures and allows a better quantification of the rehabilitation efficacy.


aphasia; broca; melodic intonation therapy; melodic rhythmic therapy; music therapy

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