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EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL AND REHABILITATION MEDICINE
Rivista di Medicina Fisica e Riabilitativa dopo Eventi Patologici
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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2009 June;45(2):197-204
A Cochrane review of treatment for dysarthria following acquired brain injury in children and adolescente
Morgan A. T. 1, Vogel A. P. 2
1 Healthy Development [Theme] Language and Literacy Murdoch Children Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia
2 Centre for Neuroscience University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Background. The expression “acquired brain injury” (ABI) incorporates a range of etiologies including cerebrovascular accident, brain tumour and traumatic brain injury. ABI is a common cause of disability in the pediatric population, and dysarthria is a common and often persistent sequelae associated with ABI in children.
Objectives. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of intervention delivered by Speech and Language Pathologists/Therapists targeting dysarthric speech in children resulting from acquired brain injury.
Methods. Several electronic databases were searched up to January 2007. The review considered randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-randomised studies of children aged 3 to 16 years with acquired dysarthria grouped by aetiology (e.g., brain tumour, traumatic brain injury, cerebrovascular accident). Both authors independently assessed the titles and abstracts for relevance (100% inter-rater reliability) and the full text version of all potentially relevant articles was obtained. No studies met inclusion criteria.
Results. Of 2 091 titles and abstracts identified, full text versions of only three were obtained. The remaining 2 088 were excluded, largely on the basis of not including dysarthria, being diagnostic or descriptive papers, and for concerning adults rather than children. All obtained articles were excluded due to including populations without ABI, adults with dysarthria, or inappropriate design. Thus, no studies met inclusion criteria.
Conclusion. The review demonstrates a critical lack of studies, let alone RCTs, addressing treatment efficacy for dysarthria in children with ABI. Possible reasons to explain this lack of data include 1) a lack of understanding of the characteristics or natural history of dysarthria associated with this population; 2) the lack of a diagnostic classification system for children precluding the development of well targeted intervention programs; and 3) the heterogeneity of both the etiologies and resultant possible dysarthria types of pediatric ABI. Efforts should first be directed at modest well-controlled studies to identify likely efficacious treatments that may then be trialled in multicentre collaborations using quasi-randomised or RCT methodology.