Comparing higher and lower weekly treatment intensity for chronic aphasia: A systematic review and meta-analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • Optimizing intensity for aphasia treatment is a high priority research issue for people with aphasia, their families and clinicians, and could result in healthcare cost savings. An important aspect of intensity is the frequency of intervention, or how regularly treatment should be provided each week. While principles of neuroplasticity endorse massed practice, cognitive psychology has established superiority of distributed practice within normal learning. Neither concept has been conclusively tested in aphasia. There have been many literature reviews of intensity in aphasia intervention, but most have not investigated treatment intensity whilst also ensuring that therapy dose and treatment type are identical between study groups. Some have also combined studies across acute, subacute and chronic aphasia. We searched systematically for studies directly comparing higher and lower weekly treatment frequency in chronic aphasia. Eight studies were retrieved and rated for methodological quality. Meta-analysis was completed for group and single case experimental designs. Results showed that there are few studies investigating treatment frequency in chronic aphasia and their quality is low-moderate. Meta-analyses were inconclusive due to limited data, but there was no indication of either schedule being superior. Further research directly comparing treatment schedules is needed.

publication date

  • 2020