A groundbreaking app developed by the Neurotherapeutics Group at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology is transforming the lives of individuals struggling with aphasia, a language condition often caused by brain injury. Aptly named iTalkBetter, this innovative digital platform offers speech therapy that significantly enhances users’ communication abilities.

Unlike traditional therapy methods limited by time and accessibility, iTalkBetter empowers users to practice over 200 frequently used terms at their own pace and convenience. By incorporating engaging games and real-time speech recognition technology, the app provides instant feedback, fostering a dynamic and effective learning environment.

Recent research published in eClinicalMedicine revealed the profound impact of iTalkBetter on patients’ speech capabilities. Utilizing the app for just 90 minutes daily over six weeks resulted in a remarkable 13% increase in patients’ ability to name objects, particularly the most commonly used terms. Moreover, enhanced spontaneous speaking was observed, marking a significant stride in aphasia treatment.

Aphasia, stemming from brain injury, presents formidable challenges in speech, writing, reading, and listening. Despite its prevalence, current healthcare systems often fail to provide adequate therapy, with NHS offering only 12 hours of speech language therapy. Recognizing this shortfall, Professor Alex Leff of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience advocates for app-delivered therapy as a viable solution.

In a groundbreaking phase II clinical trial, researchers examined the efficacy of iTalkBetter on 27 stroke survivors with aphasia, employing advanced imaging techniques to monitor brain activity during app use. The results were promising, demonstrating increased brain volume in areas associated with language processing and control post-iTalkBetter practice.

Professor Leff emphasizes the significance of this study, highlighting the app’s ability to enhance naturalistic speaking tasks and induce dose-related changes in brain function. With iTalkBetter, individuals with aphasia can unlock their full potential, reclaiming their voice and rebuilding connections in their world.

Article written by Mohd Aasim