Changes in aphasic discourse after contrasting treatments for anomia

Christina del Toro, Lori Altmann, Anastasia Raymer, Susan Leon, Lee Blonder, Leslie Gonzalez Rothi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Discourse analysis is a key element in determining treatment effects. However, it is extremely labour intensive, requiring in-depth knowledge of linguistics and aphasiology; thus, it is often neglected in the analysis of treatment outcomes. A clinically practical method of discourse analysis would be beneficial for evaluation and determination of treatment efficacy. Aims: The current study investigates changes in discourse content following contrasting treatments for anomia using grammatical analysis. In addition, we pilot the use of a new information measure. Methods & Procedures: We compare discourse changes after a gestural+verbaltreatment and a semantic-phonologic treatment for nouns and verbs on two groups of individuals with aphasia. Analyses compared discourse samples from 14 participants taken at baseline, post-phase 1, and post-phase 2. In addition to traditional measures such as number of nouns, verbs, and sentence types, a new measure of information is introduced, the Utterance with New Information (UNI). The UNI is designed to assess content in non-propositional, impaired speech in open-ended discourse. Outcomes & Results: Noun production increased in participants of both treatments, whereas grammatical sentences increased only in participants of the semantic-phonologic treatment. Production of UNIs increased in participants of both treatments as well as over time. Conclusions: Thisstudy demonstrates that a few easily counted measures of discourse production can provide clinically useful information for the clinician. Moreover, these findings suggest discourse analysis is a viable method of determining treatment outcomes especially given that improving discourse is the ultimate goal of all aphasia treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)881-892
Number of pages12
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Aphasia
  • Grammar
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • LPN and LVN


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