Judy Harvey, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Yingying Wang, Ph.D.
Date of this Version
Recent trends in neuroimaging, as it relates to the field of communication disorders, have shed new light on the nature of neuroplasticity and reorganization of brain function as it pertains to recovery from nonfluent aphasia following Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT). However, demographic limitations in these client populations necessitate synthesis across individual studies to form meaningful patterns for application to clinical practice. We conducted a systematic review of all studies involving pre-and post-treatment neurological and behavioral measures following MIT treatment for adults with nonfluent aphasia. Ten studies were identified for synthesis involving a variety of languages, treatment conditions, and neuroimaging and behavioral measurement procedures. Synthesis of the outcomes from the ten studies did not result in any significant findings due to limitations in available primary research on the topic of MIT-induced neuroplasticity. Locations of neurological change centered around the inferior frontal gyrus, superior and middle temporal gyri, superior longitudinal fasciculus, and arcuate fasciculus. Neurological changes were associated with improvements in connected speech, moderate gains in repetition, and minimal improvements in naming. Language lateralization in response to MIT was not uniform and may vary according to one’s stage of recovery (i.e., participants in subacute stages tended to show more positive outcomes for increased right language lateralization while chronic cases tended to show more positive outcomes for increased left language lateralization). Overall, the evidence is consistent with previous literature regarding neuroplasticity and MIT.
Advisors: Judy Harvey & Yingying Wang