Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Biology and BioMed Central.

Journal App

google play app store
Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Intensive language training enhances brain plasticity in chronic aphasia

Marcus Meinzer12*, Thomas Elbert1, Christian Wienbruch1, Daniela Djundja12, Gabriela Barthel12 and Brigitte Rockstroh1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychology, University of Konstanz, Universitätsstrasse 10, 78464 Konstanz, Germany

2 Lurija Institute for Rehabilitation Research, Kliniken Schmieder, 78476 Allensbach, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Biology 2004, 2:20  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-2-20

Published: 25 August 2004



Focal clusters of slow wave activity in the delta frequency range (1–4 Hz), as measured by magnetencephalography (MEG), are usually located in the vicinity of structural damage in the brain. Such oscillations are usually considered pathological and indicative of areas incapable of normal functioning owing to deafferentation from relevant input sources. In the present study we investigated the change in Delta Dipole Density in 28 patients with chronic aphasia (>12 months post onset) following cerebrovascular stroke of the left hemisphere before and after intensive speech and language therapy (3 hours/day over 2 weeks).


Neuropsychologically assessed language functions improved significantly after training. Perilesional delta activity decreased after therapy in 16 of the 28 patients, while an increase was evident in 12 patients. The magnitude of change of delta activity in these areas correlated with the amount of change in language functions as measured by standardized language tests.


These results emphasize the significance of perilesional areas in the rehabilitation of aphasia even years after the stroke, and might reflect reorganisation of the language network that provides the basis for improved language functions after intensive training.