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  1. Research on Treating Aphasia

    By Linnie, 09/02/2017

    There is an interesting article I found under U.S. National Institutes for Health regarding research being conducted on several new methods of treating aphasia.  It was published in December 2015, and updated in March 2017. 
    It can be found at the following link: https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/aphasia#research
    What research is being done for aphasia?
    Researchers are testing new types of speech-language therapy in people with both recent and chronic aphasia to see if new methods can better help them recover word retrieval, grammar, prosody (tone), and other aspects of speech.
    Some of these new methods involve improving cognitive abilities that support the processing of language, such as short-term memory and attention. Others involve activities that stimulate the mental representations of sounds, words, and sentences, making them easier to access and retrieve.
    Researchers are also exploring drug therapy as an experimental approach to treating aphasia. Some studies are testing whether drugs that affect the chemical neurotransmitters in the brain can be used in combination with speech-language therapy to improve recovery of various language functions.
    Other research is focused on using advanced imaging methods, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), to explore how language is processed in the normal and damaged brain and to understand recovery processes. This type of research may advance our knowledge of how the areas involved in speech and understanding language reorganize after a brain injury. The results could have implications for the diagnosis and treatment of aphasia and other neurological disorders.
    A relatively new area of interest in aphasia research is noninvasive brain stimulation in combination with speech-language therapy. Two such brain stimulation techniques, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), temporarily alter normal brain activity in the region being stimulated.
    Researchers originally used these techniques to help them understand the parts of the brain that played a role in language and recovery after a stroke. Recently, scientists are studying if this temporary alteration of brain activity might help people re-learn language use. Several clinical trials funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) are currently testing these technologies.
    NIDCD-funded clinical trials are also testing other treatments for aphasia. A list of active NIDCD-funded aphasia trials can be found at ClinicalTrials.gov.