Innovative Strategies In Neurology And Rehabilitation

Innovative strategies in Neurology and Rehabilitation

One of the most innovative branches within the field of speech therapy is neurology therapy. This specialty receives contributions from neurology and neuropsychology to address speech therapy disorders that arise from a patient who suffers some type of injury or affectation in the nervous system. Thanks to this convergence of various disciplines, a professional specialized in neurology is trained to rehabilitate patients with language, speech or swallowing disorders.

In this article we will develop what the work of these professionals consists of and what they are. some innovative strategies that are used to implement neurologic treatment.

In what cases does a neurologue therapist intervene?

Injuries to some areas of the brain as a result of a stroke, neurological disease, or trauma can result in difficulties with communication or swallowing. In these cases, the intervention of a speech therapist specialized in neurology could be of great help in achieving a significant improvement in discomfort. Professionals in this discipline are responsible for evaluate and detect the problem underlying the patient’s disorder in order to arrive at a diagnosis if necessary.

In this way, the neurospeech therapist can plan and specify the most appropriate treatment for the patient’s particular problem. It is very important to emphasize that this process should ideally be carried out under an interdisciplinary mode of work, that is, maintaining close contact with professionals from other health areas, such as neurologists, paediatricians, psychologists, etc., in order to accurately detect comprehensive and comprehensive what the person’s problem is and implement the best possible treatment for them.

The neurobiological bases of communication

In recent years, thanks to advances in neuroimaging studies, a good number of scientific investigations have been carried out under the general proposal of understanding the functioning of the different areas of the human brain. This served to detect, among other things, which areas of our brain are responsible for processing information from the surrounding world, for understanding the language we share with our peers, or for controlling the laryngeal and facial movements necessary to produce speech.

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This has been very useful to understand the neurobiological substrate that causes communication and language pathologies. When a person suffers a brain injury—say, as a result of being hit while riding a motorcycle—the structural alterations caused by the injury translate into functional alterations. In other words, It is crucial to know what functions each area of ​​our brain has Since, when a person presents neurologopedic alterations after a blow, it may be because the injured area was responsible for controlling and modulating the function in which he or she performs with difficulties, be it speech, swallowing or language.

The operation of the word circuit

One of the contributions of neurology to speech therapy is knowledge about the areas involved in the process of language comprehension and speech production. In this process, called the word circuit based on the Wernicke-Geschwind model, The various neurons that make up certain areas of the brain communicate via chemical synapses so that we can interpret the information coming from the stimuli in the environment—that is, what we read or hear—and so that we are able to issue a verbal response accordingly. The main structures involved in this process are the following:

1. Primary and secondary visual area

Both are found in the occipital cortex. When we receive visual information, for example, when we read a text or a word—something common in a neuropsychological or neurology test—a rapid and generic processing of the information is carried out in the primary visual area; and later, in the secondary visual area, the information is processed in a more elaborate way, outlining the objects (in this case, the letters) in order to understand the message received.

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2. Angular turn

The angular gyrus is a small structure whose function is conduct information from the visual area to Wernicke’s area. The brain is so fascinating that it has been discovered that, in addition, the angular gyrus is responsible for transforming the format of the visual stimulus (“what is read”) into an auditory format, since only in this way can Wernicke’s area process the incoming information.

3. Wernicke area

It is a crucial area for communication. It is responsible for language comprehension and is located in the temporal cortex. When a person suffers an injury to this area, there is a possibility that they will suffer from Wernicke’s aphasia. That is, being unable to understand the meaning of the information he receives from the environment.

4. Arcuate fasciculus

It is a set of nerves that, if the person intends to say the word out loud, sends chemical signals to Broca’s area to transmit information.

5. Drill Area

Broca’s area is the area of ​​the brain whose function is to control the muscles of the mouth, laryngeal movements and phonation in general to be able to produce a word out loud. Its functions are essentially motor, not understanding. When a person has Broca’s aphasia, he can understand the information he reads or hears but is unable to reproduce it in spoken form. Also, he may suffer from dysarthria, which is the presence of problems with diction and control of the muscles to speak.

Innovative strategies for rehabilitation in neurology

As a result of this knowledge, neurology has developed different tools and strategies to deal with the challenging disorders with which many patients come to clinics. Rehabilitation can sometimes be long and requires the patient’s adherence to treatment. The role of companions—family, friends—as key agents in configuring a network of containment and emotional support for the patient is essential.

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Below, we point out some innovative strategies used in neurology for rehabilitation:

1. Music therapy

Music therapy is used in rehabilitation to stimulate those functions involved in speech. Research on the subject indicates thatMelody and rhythm monitoring may be a beneficial intervention for the recovery of patients with speech aphasias during treatment. According to a systematic review on music-based interventions for speech and language pathologies, carried out by Hurkmans et al., the fifteen studies reviewed showed positive results in music treatments in neurologically damaged patients, although the methodology still needs to be improved due to the which these studies are carried out.

2. Group treatment

Although one might think that professionals who treat communication pathologies would have no reason to provide group treatments, the reality is that These types of interventions are essential for patients with chronic aphasias. This is because aphasia impacts a person’s daily life, so conversational training can be extremely useful for rehabilitation.

3. Gesture-based therapies

Gesture-based therapies can be useful for patients to be able to establish connections between the meaning of different words and their associated gestures. At the end of the article we reference a video that exemplifies with several exercises how a speech therapist works with gesture-based therapies.

4. Telerehabilitation

Finally, many treatments may include interventions based on the use of communication systems, such as telephone calls.