The goal of this paper is to discuss experimental design options available for establishing the effects of treatment in studies that aim to examine the neural mechanisms associated with treatment-induced language recovery in aphasia, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We present both group and single-subject experimental or case-series design options for doing this and address advantages and disadvantages of each. We also discuss general components of and requirements for treatment research studies, including operational definitions of variables, criteria for defining behavioral change and treatment efficacy, and reliability of measurement. Important considerations that are unique to neuroimaging-based treatment research are addressed, pertaining to the relation between the selected treatment approach and anticipated changes in language processes/functions and how such changes are hypothesized to map onto the brain.
- Language recovery
- Treatment efficacy