Santa Lucia - Neurosciences and Rehabilitation Sapienza University of Rome

Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2010 Nov-Dec;24(9):871-5. doi: 10.1177/1545968310368962. Epub 2010 Sep 9

How long is the recovery of global aphasia? Twenty-five years of follow-up in a patient with left hemisphere stroke

BACKGROUND: Current knowledge regarding the time course of aphasia recovery is based on observations limited to the first years after stroke.

OBJECTIVE: The authors studied long-term outcome (25 years) of language in a patient with global aphasia.

METHODS: A 37-year-old man with global aphasia from a large ischemic lesion in the left middle cerebral artery territory was tested 9 times between 3 weeks and 25 years poststroke by means of the Milan Language Examination, Token Test, Raven Test, and apraxia tests.

RESULTS: Three main periods of recovery were identified. The first year after stroke was characterized by recovery of verbal comprehension and word repetition. From 1 to 3 years, naming and reading improved. From 3 to 25 years, progressive improvement of previously emerged functions was found, as well as the appearance of spontaneous speech.

CONCLUSIONS: This unique long-term follow-up shows that the time span for recovery of language functions in global aphasia after stroke may be much longer than previously documented.

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