Non-fluent aphasia and neural reorganization after speech therapy: Insights from human sleep electrophysiology and functional magnetic resonance imaging

S. Sarasso, P. Santhanam, S. Määtta, R. Poryazova, F. Ferrarelli, G. Tononi, S. L. Small

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Stroke is associated with long-term functional deficits. Behavioral interventions are often effective in promoting functional recovery and plastic changes. Recent studies in normal subjects have shown that sleep, and particularly slow wave activity (SWA), is tied to local brain plasticity and may be used as a sensitive marker of local cortical reorganization after stroke. In a pilot study, we assessed the local changes induced by a single exposure to a therapeutic session of IMITATE (Intensive Mouth Imitation and Talking for Aphasia Therapeutic Effects), a behavioral therapy used for recovery in patients with post-stroke aphasia. In addition, we measured brain activity changes with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in a language observation task before, during and after the full IMITATE rehabilitative program. Speech production improved both after a single exposure and the full therapy program as measured by the Western Aphasia Battery (WAB) Repetition subscale. We found that IMITATE induced reorganization in functionally-connected, speech-relevant areas in the left hemisphere. These preliminary results suggest that sleep hd-EEGs, and the topographical analysis of SWA parameters, are well suited to investigate brain plastic changes underpinning functional recovery in neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-278
Number of pages8
JournalArchives Italiennes de Biologie
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 28 2010



  • EEG
  • SWA
  • Sleep
  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this