Blog Archives

Improving digit span assessment of short-term verbal memory

We measured digit span (DS) in two experiments that used computerized presentation of randomized auditory digits with performance-adapted list length adjustment. A new mean span (MS) metric of DS was developed that showed reduced variance, improved test-retest reliability, and higher correlations with the results of other neuropsychological test results when compared to traditional DS measures. The MS metric also enhanced the sensitivity of forward versus backward span comparisons, enabled the development of normative performance criteria with subdigit precision, and elucidated changes in DS performance with age and education level. Computerized stimulus delivery and improved scoring metrics significantly enhance the precision of DS assessments of short-term verbal memory.

from the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology

Preliminary results of a computer-assisted vocal load test with 10-min test duration

Nowadays, many occupations require a high vocal loading capacity. Therefore, it becomes increasingly important to have suitable test procedures for the vocal load, which can be executed with a low personnel and temporal expenditure. Patients with decreased vocal loading capacity were distinguished from test persons free of voice complaints with a 15-min test. It should be examined whether the test duration can be further shortened by an increase in the demanded vocal intensity. Sixty two persons underwent a vocal load test (VLT) of 10 min: in each case, 1 min in the volumes 75 dB(A) and 80 dB(A). Volume and fundamental frequency were measured real time. Before and directly after vocal load, as well as after a 30-min voice rest, the Goettingen hoarseness diagram was executed for the objective judgment of vocal quality. Besides, every person assessed himself on the bases of the Voice Handicap Index (VHI 12) and a questionnaire on the subjective state before the examination and after the VLT. The test could be mastered by all participants, patients and test persons, and was evaluated by all as tiring. However, we could not distinguish persons who indicated a decreased vocal maximum stress in everyday life from persons without vocal complaints using the shorter test with higher load, which was possible in the 15-min test pattern. A shortening of the test duration to 10 min for an examination of the vocal loading capacity is not possible, in spite of raised vocal load. It was proved in this study that a reliable distinction between patients and test persons was not possible using the 10-min vocal load test. A reliable statement concerning the permanent capacity of the voice cannot be made. Further scientific investigation in the important field of vocal load diagnostics is required.

from the European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

Application of computers to the treatment of US veterans with aphasia

Background: Over the course of years, a variety of computer programs and related technologies have been developed by clinicians and researchers in the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System (VA) in an effort to improve understanding of and develop accessible and effective treatment for aphasia.

Aims: To review the development of computer-based speech-language pathology services in the VA.

Methods and Procedures: The efforts of VA clinician-researchers to develop and test computer-based speech-language pathology services are grouped into three areas: remote applications, compensatory applications, and research applications.

Outcomes & Results: The work cited in this article illustrates that VA clinician-researchers have long recognised that the role of technology in aphasia rehabilitation is not simply to increase efficiency and access to care, but also to improve the content of the care we provided to our patients.

Conclusions: These efforts are consistent with other attempts in the VA to use recent technology to improve the quality and efficiency of, and access to, care for veterans. The goal is to provide all people with aphasia the opportunity to receive the best possible language and cognitive treatment.

from Aphasiology