Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience


Digital Interventions in Neuro-Rehabilitation: iTALKbetter

Project Description

iTALKBetter research project is a clinical trial investigating the efficacy of the iTALKbetter app-based naming therapy for people with word retrieval difficulties caused by stroke (naming app for a wide variety of common words and phrases). The study will also examine two different versions of the therapy (reactive: removes items based on participants’ performance; deterministic: does not remove items based on participants’ performance) to evaluate which version optimises recovery in naming accuracy.

Funding body

National Institute of Health Research (NIHR)


This study aims to test the clinical efficacy of iTALKbetter by answering the following research questions:

  • Following the therapy, do participants make a clinically relevant improvement in the naming of trained items in comparison to untrained control items?
  • Following the therapy, do participants make improvements in social activity and participation and participant and/or carer reported outcome measures?
  • Which version of the therapy optimises recovery of naming accuracy: reactive or deterministic?
  • Is there a relationship between scores on a neuropsychological battery of tests and how much participants improve in naming following the therapy?
  • Is there a relationship between brain lesion size and location and how much participants improve in naming following the therapy?

Design and Methods

For this project, we are recruiting 35 participants with post-stroke aphasia and impaired word retrieval to take part in the small-scale, randomised clinical trial. Participants will be randomised to one of two versions of the therapy: 1) reactive iTALKbetter; 2) deterministic iTALKbetter. Participants will receive 6 weeks of therapy with the iTALKbetter app and will complete neuropsychological assessments and structural MRI brain imaging scans before and after the therapy.


The iTALKbetter therapy app will provide the opportunity for the necessary increased rehabilitation to help people recover lost language function following brain injury. This will alleviate NHS Speech and Language Therapist time and put users in control of when and where they carry out practice-based language therapy.

Project members

Professor Alex Leff (Chief Investigator)

Dr Catherine Doogan

Professor Jenny Crinion

Mr Henry Coley-Fisher

Miss Emily Upton

SoftV (Software Development Team)

Date commencing

May 2019

Expected date of completion

Data collection: October 2020

Project: December 2021