Post-Stroke Aphasia

Aphasia, the loss or impairment of language caused by brain damage, is one of the most devastating cognitive impairments of stroke. Aphasia is present in 21-38% of acute stroke patients and is associated with high short- and long-term morbidity, mortality and expenditure. Recovery from aphasia is possible even in severe cases. While speech-language therapy remains the mainstay treatment of aphasia, the effectiveness of conventional therapies has not been conclusively proved. This has motivated attempts to integrate knowledge from several domains in an effort to plan more rational therapies and to introduce other therapeutic strategies, including the use of intensive language therapy and pharmacological agents. Several placebo-controlled trials suggest that piracetam is effective in recovery from aphasia when started soon after the stroke, but its efficacy vanishes in patients with chronic aphasia.