Non-randomised controlled studies or single-case experimental studies of gesture-based methods (including symbolic or non-symbolic intentional gestures), for adults with aphasia after a stroke, were eligible for inclusion. Studies had to be published in English in a peer-reviewed journal. Brief facilitation studies, and studies focused on partner training, rather than training for the person with aphasia, were excluded.
Most participants had some form of non-fluent aphasia. Some studies included patients three to six months after the onset of aphasia, but most included patients more than a year after their stroke. All but four studies used symbolic gestures, such as pantomimes and iconic gestures. Most studies used a gesture plus verbal protocol, contrasted with a verbal only protocol. Gesture therapy was typically administered two or three times per week, lasting from 6.5 to 32 hours. Studies were conducted in Australia, the UK, the USA, or Germany.
Two reviewers independently selected studies for inclusion, with any disagreements resolved through discussion.