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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

10 Principles of Aphasia and Neuroplasticity

What is Aphasia?

Aphasia is a neurological disorder in which the area of the brain that is responsible for speech, writing, communication, and comprehending languages, gets damaged due to events like head injury, stroke, or even slow-growing brain tumors.

As a result, the person will experience symptoms like:

  1. Forming incomplete sentences

  2. Speaking senselessly

  3. Wrong choice or substitute of words.

  4. Inability to write sentences.

  5. Inability to comprehend words or sentences.

  6. Difficulty recalling words.

The severity of this disorder directly depends on the extent of neurological damage.

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Treatment of Aphasia: What is Neuroplasticity?

Since aphasia is a condition where the neurons in a particular part of the brain get damaged, one way your body tries to recover from this condition is by trying to repair the damages.

In this particular case, Neuroplasticity or neural plasticity, or brain plasticity, is the ability or potential of your damaged cranial neurons to grow, repair, and reorganize in order to fix the damages.

The 10 Principles of Neuroplasticity

In order to harness the brain to repair itself, the 10 principles of neuroplasticity are a common therapy that is to be understood, followed, practiced, or is just helpful to keep in the minds of patients who suffer from brain injuries like Aphasia.

They include the following:

  1. Use it or lose it

  2. Use it and improve it

  3. Specificity

  4. Repetition matters

  5. Intensity matters

  6. Time matters

  7. Salience matters

  8. Age matters

  9. Transference

  10. Interference

  11. Use it or Lose it: The driving failure of specific neurons in the central nervous system leads to functional and neural circuitry degradation. This is because when the neural circuits are not actively engaged for a large period of time, they begin to permanently degrade. This is why the swallowing mechanism gets damaged in patients who have been using feeding G-tubes for a large period of time.

  12. Use it and Improve it: Any training that drives the CNS or specific brain function can lead to the enhancement of that particular function. As a result, there is a positive reorganization of neural circuits, observed. One common example is treatment stroke patients who have lost control over one side of their body by restraining the functional or non-affected side so that the patients will be compelled to try using the other.

  13. Specificity: The nature of the training experience determines or dictates the nature of neuroplasticity. This means that treatment for particular neural circuits must be modified or tailored to produce the best results or recovery.

  14. Repetition Matters: The process and progress of plasticity require sufficient repetition which is arguably the most important driving factor. This means that is it important for the therapist to successfully identify how much time or specific therapy sessions are needed for the recovery or restoration of certain neural circuits or skills.

  15. Intensity Matters: The intensity of training or therapy is required to be sufficient in order to ensure success in neuroplasticity. The higher the intensity, the more likely will a person achieve the desired results and recovery.

  16. Time Matters: During recovery, different forms of neuroplasticity occur at different times during training or therapy as the brain needs time to recover after a particular injury.

  17. Salience Matters: In order to successfully induce plasticity, the training experience must be relevant and sufficiently salient. This is because emotions and feelings can modulate strength in the training which will directly affect the recovery. Thus, it is also important not to overwhelm the brain with input in order to obtain a faster recovery.

  18. Age Matters: Neuroplasticity and induced-training occur more readily when the patient is young as they are more adaptable to change. However, this is still a lifelong process

  19. Transference: Brain plasticity in response to one training or therapy session is capable of enhancing the acquisition of similar functional task performance.

  20. Interference: Most neural circuits are connected or dependent on one another. Thus, Neuroplasticity in response to a particular circuit can interfere with the behavior or functions of other circuits. This is because developing a new circuit to compensate for a particular damage may interfere with the development of other connections or functions as a result a person may have to even “unlearn” certain behaviors.

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