The neural and behavioral correlates of anomia recovery following personalized observation, execution, and mental imagery therapy: a proof of concept


The impact of sensorimotor strategies on aphasia recovery has rarely been explored. This paper reports on the efficacy of personalized observation, execution, and mental imagery (POEM) therapy, a new approach designed to integrate sensorimotor and language-based strategies to treat verb anomia, a frequent aphasia sign. Two participants with verb anomia were followed up in a pre-/posttherapy fMRI study. POEM was administered in a massed stimulation schedule, with personalized stimuli, resulting in significant improvement in both participants, with both trained and untrained items. Given that the latter finding is rarely reported in the literature, the evidence suggests that POEM favors the implementation of a word retrieval strategy that can be integrated and generalized. Changes in fMRI patterns following POEM reflect a reduction in the number of recruited areas supporting naming and the recruitment of brain areas that belong to the language and mirror neuron systems. The data provide evidence on the efficacy of POEM for verb anomia, while pointing to the added value of combined language and sensorimotor strategies for recovery from verb anomia, contributing to the consolidation of a word retrieval strategy that can be better generalized to untrained words. Future studies with a larger sample of participants are required to further explore this avenue.

Neural Plasticity