Twenty-one RCTs were included in the review (496 participants, range seven to 66). Fifteen studies were rated "good" quality and six studies were rated "fair" quality. Most studies utilised blinding to reduce bias, and attrition was low in most studies. Treatment groups were comparable at baseline in most studies.
Four RCTs assessed language and communication therapies (including group communication therapy, intense language therapy and therapy involving trained volunteers); all of which found that the therapies were effective.
Six RCTs assessed technological interventions; three RCTs found that computer therapies were effective at improving naming ability and verbal communication. One RCT found that the B.A.Bar portable electronic language learning device was effective. One RCT demonstrated that the Oral Reading Language Therapy for Aphasia (ORLA) program was as effective when delivered by a computer as when delivered by a trained therapist. One RCT found no significant improvement in speech and language recovery using filmed language instruction.
Six RCTs assessed pharmacological therapies; piracetam, donepezil, memantine and galantamine were found to be effective in one RCT each. However, two RCTs demonstrated that bromocriptine was not effective.
Three RCTs assessed brain stimulation techniques and found that both repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) improved naming abilities and lexical production.
Two RCTs demonstrated that constraint-induced aphasia therapy was effective.