A 3-year evolution of linguistic disorders in aphasia after stroke
Aphasia recovery after stroke has been the subject of several studies, but in none the deficits on the various linguistic levels were examined, even though in the diagnosis and treatment of aphasia the emphasis lays more and more on these linguistic level disorders. In this observational prospective follow-up study, we explored whether it is meaningful to investigate the recovery of semantics, phonology, and syntax separately. Fifteen patients with aphasia poststroke were assessed at 3 and 10 days, 7 weeks, 4 and 7 months, and 3 years postonset with the ScreeLing, a linguistic level test, the Aphasia Severity Rating Scale (spontaneous speech) and the Token Test. Group results showed improvement for the overall ScreeLing (P<0.01) and its subparts semantics (P<0.01) and syntax (P<0.01) up to 7 weeks, just as the Token Test (P<0.01). Phonology improved up to 4 months (P<0.05) and spontaneous speech up to 7 months (P<0.05). The recovery pattern of the three linguistic levels did not follow a parallel course, with a great deal of variability in linguistic recovery curves between and within patients. These results suggest that it is meaningful to assess the recovery of the linguistic levels separately, starting from the acute stage poststroke.