Biological Approaches to the Treatment of Aphasia: Steven L. Small
Presently, behavioral treatment constitutes the mainstay of treatment of aphasia. By trying to remediate (that is, eliminate deficits) or to compensate (that is, bypass deficits), speech-language pathologists seek to ameliorate the communication skills of patients with brain lesions and language disorders. For over a century, clinicians have sought to use pharmacological agents to remediate aphasia or to aid compensation, and this work has generally been unsuccessful (Small, 1994). However, in several limited areas, the use of drug treatment as an adjunct to traditional (behavioral) speech therapy has shown some promise. Furthermore, the future for pharmacological and other biological treatments is bright, with new research in neurotrophins and cell transplants holding tremendous promise (Small, 2000). This chapter will review the current state of aphasia pharmacotherapy as well as the most promising ideas for biological approaches in the future.