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International Aphasia Project

Researchers at CRL and other colleagues are conducting an international research project on aphasia to study the effects of unilateral brain injury (usually due to strokes) on language and communication abilities. The research is being conducted in seven different languages at the present time.

Since so much research on aphasia has been carried out in English, it is difficult to separate universal mechanisms (discoveries that ought to hold for every language in the world) from language-specific content (results that are only true for native speakers of English). By doing crosslinguistic comparisons, they allow us to disentangle these differences while we address one of the most important issues in cognitive neurobiology, the issue of behavioral and neural plasticity: How many different forms can the language processor take under a range of normal and abnormal conditions? The focus is on patients with forms of aphasia that are known to affect the processing of words and grammar (Broca's, Wernicke's aphasia and variation of anomia).

The primary goal of this aphasia research is to achieve a better understanding of the brain mechanisms responsible for normal and abnormal language functions. Only people who have experienced a single stroke resulting in communication difficulties may qualify for the study. There is an "Ideal"; candidate criteria list that the potential subjects must pass before they are eligible for the study:

  • Aphasia due to unilateral stroke diagnosed by brain scanning procedures: CAT, MRI.
  • Neurologically and physically stable, at least three months (but preferable 6 months ) post stroke onset.
  • No current diagnosis of psychiatric problems.
  • No history of other significant brain disorder or dysfunction such as severe head trauma, dementia/Alzheimer's or mental retardation.
  • Visual acuity within normal range (corrective lenses acceptable).
  • Sufficient hearing acuity for conversational language.

Once the potential subjects have passed the criteria, the IAP takes the responsibility of following the patient, searching medical records, and evaluating the appropriateness for inclusion in the study. Evaluations are based upon standard aphasia diagnostic tests as well as new experimental procedures designed to shed new light on the comprehension and production of language by aphasia patients under different processing conditions.

In San Diego, participants in the research are located through advertising in the San Diego community, through referrals from hospitals and through organizations such as Stroke Clubs. The procedures are non-invasive, cost nothing to the subject (they receive a small payment for their participation), and these procedures are done either at UCSD, the SDSU School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences or at the subject's home. Although there is no direct benefit to the participants, the purpose of the study is to learn more about the effects of brain damage on language-processing abilities. The hope is that this information may be helpful to the diagnosis and treatment of patients in the future.

To request information, please contact CRL.

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the International Aphasia Project.

CRL Talks

April 22, 2014
Remediation of abnormal visual motion processing significantly improves attention, reading fluency, and working memory in dyslexia
Teri Lawton (Department of Computer Science and Engineering, UCSD)