The effects of cognitive-linguistic interventions to treat aphasia in the first 90 days post-stroke: A systematic review

Emily Eley, Maayken van den Berg, Miranda L. Rose, John E. Pierce, Abby Foster, Edwina Lamborn, Sarah D’Souza, Erin Godecke, Lucette Lanyon, Ciara Shiggins, Ian Kneebone, Caroline Baker

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Background: Cognitive-linguistic interventions for aphasia are behavioural-based approaches to therapy that aim to treat language impairment skills post-acquired brain injury. The purpose of cognitive-linguistic intervention is to restore and rehabilitate language impairment skills through targeting phonologic, semantic and syntactic systems, which may support goals to improve everyday communication. Aims: The aim of this systematic review was to investigate the effects of cognitive-linguistic interventions on language processing for aphasia in the first 90 days post-stroke. Secondary aims include the investigation of the effects of these interventions on functional communication and quality of life. Methods: A systematic search was conducted across six databases. Twenty-one studies met the predefined eligibility criteria and were included in the review. Studies were rated for methodological quality and data extracted. A narrative synthesis was completed and conducted for all included studies. Four studies were suitable for meta-analysis. Main Contribution: Evidence for the effects of cognitive-linguistic intervention for aphasia in the first 90 days post-stroke is inconclusive. Intervention approaches included constraint-induced intervention, melodic intonation therapy and study specific cognitive-linguistic intervention. Multiple studies investigated the use of computers as a mode of intervention delivery or to increase the frequency of intervention or session duration. Improvement on language outcomes was associated with positive effects on functional communication, regardless of the specific intervention. There were mixed results for quality-of-life outcomes. Conclusions: Further research is required to guide aphasia intervention the first 90 days post stroke, a time critical period for recovery and rehabilitation. Research reports should include adequate description of participant characteristics and consistent use of intervention protocols and outcome measures. Providing a clear description of theoretical underpinnings and detailed information regarding the components of intervention will also facilitate future research synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1351-1376
Number of pages26
Issue number8
Early online date7 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • acute care
  • Aphasia
  • cognitive-linguistic intervention
  • early aphasia intervention
  • stroke
  • subacute care


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