Article : Speech recovery and language plasticity

Speech recovery and language plasticity can be facilitated by Sensori-Motor Fusion training in chronic non-fluent aphasia. A case report study


2017, VOL. 00, NO. 00, 1–27

Célise Haldin, Audrey Acher, Louise Kauffmann, Thomas Huebert, Emilie Cousin, Pierre Badin, Pascal Perrier, Diandra Fabre, Dominic Perennou,e, Olivier Detanta, Assia Jaillard, Hélène Loevenbruck, and Monica Baciu

Laboratoire de Psychologie et NeuroCognition, UMR CNRS 5105, Université Grenoble-Alpes, Grenoble, France; bUnité neuro-vasculaire, Pavillon de Neurologie, CHU de Grenoble, France; cIRMaGE, Plate-forme IRM 3T, CHU Grenoble, Université Grenoble-Alpes, France; dGIPSA-lab,UMR CNRS 5216/Université Grenoble-Alpes, Grenoble, France; eDept of NeuroRehabilitation, CHU Grenoble- Alpes, Université Grenoble-Alpes, Grenoble, France; fMax Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany


The rehabilitation of speech disorders benefits from providing visual information which may improve speech motor plans in patients. We tested the proof of concept of a rehabilitation method (Sensori-Motor Fusion, SMF; Ultraspeech player) in one post-stroke patient presenting chronic non-fluent aphasia. SMF allows visualisation by the patient of target tongue and lips movements using high-speed ultrasound and video imaging. This can improve the patient's awareness of his/her own lingual and labial movements, which can, in turn, improve the represen- tation of articulatory movements and increase the ability to coordinate and combine articulatory gestures. The auditory and oro-sensory feedback received by the patient as a result of his/ her own pronunciation can be integrated with the target articu- latory movements they watch. Thus, this method is founded on the sensorimotor integration during speech. The SMF effect on this patient was assessed through qualitative comparison of lan- guage scores and quantitative analysis of acoustic parameters measured in a speech production task, before and after rehabili- tation. We also investigated cerebral patterns of language reor- ganisation for rhyme detection and syllable repetition, to evaluate the influence of SMF on phonological-phonetic pro- cesses. Our results showed that SMF had a beneficial effect on this patient who qualitatively improved in naming, reading, word repetition and rhyme judgment tasks. Quantitative measurements of acoustic parameters indicate that the patient's production of vowels and syllables also improved. Compared with pre-SMF, the fMRI data in the post-SMF session revealed the activation of cerebral regions related to articulatory, auditory and somatosen- sory processes, which were expected to be recruited by SMF. We discuss neurocognitive and linguistic mechanisms which may explain speech improvement after SMF, as well as the advantages of using this speech rehabilitation method.