Stroke Aphasia

Aphasia is a language disorder resulting from brain damage that can impair the ability to express and/or comprehend oral and written language. About 1/3 of strokes result in aphasia. It is vital to investigate the neural underpinnings of language and cognitive deficits in aphasia to learn about language recovery and to inform the development of novel evidence-based aphasia treatments.

 

Our work has primarily focused on investigating specific syntactic deficits in aphasia, particularly difficulties with sentence comprehension. We also research longitudinal language recovery after stroke to help us better understand recovery processes.

 

See below for specific studies for people with aphasia:

Getting Unlost in Translation – Understanding Access to Mental Health Care in People with Aphasia

There is evidence that individuals with post-stroke aphasia and Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA), as well as their families and caregivers, are susceptible to depression and anxiety. Especially in the time of COVID-19, the repercussions of mental stress and isolation have become evident. The combination of stresses related to impaired language skills, as well as concerns and isolation caused by COVID-19, can greatly contribute to mental health concerns, and can be a significant barrier to effective treatment. It has become increasingly apparent that there is a need for collaboration between the fields of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) and mental health/counseling (e.g., Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) / Clinical Psychology) to better serve people with aphasia. We are conducting two surveys, one of people with post-stroke aphasia and PPA, and one of mental healthcare professionals. The goal is to gain an understanding of potential barriers for people with aphasia that impede access to mental health care.

 

We are currently enrolling participants in this study.

 

If you have PPA or post-stroke aphasia you can start the survey about your aphasia experience by clicking here.

If you are a mental health care professional or graduate student (e.g., marriage and family therapist, clinical psychologist, social worker) you can start the survey about your knowledge of special populations by clicking here.

 

If you have questions about this study, please contact us at cranial@chapman.edu

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Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA)

Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) is a devastating clinical syndrome caused by neurodegenerative disease. PPA research goals are two-fold. First, we seek to understand the neural underpinnings of language impairment in PPA. Second, we use this information to develop innovative evidence-based treatments of language deficits in PPA to help maintain, and in some cases, improve language in individuals with PPA.

 

In order to understand the underlying deficits in PPA we use neuroimaging such as electroencephalography (EEG) and MRI as well as behavioral methods (e.g., language testing, accuracy and reaction time measures).

 

See below for specific studies for people with PPA:

Effects of Neuromodulation Plus Verb Naming Therapy in PPA

Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) is a clinical syndrome caused by neurodegenerative disease. PPA often appears in the fifth or sixth decade of life - earlier than other forms of dementia - and has devastating effects on the patient and their family. An exciting area of language treatment research in PPA is pairing tDCS with language therapy. The goal of this study is to treat naming deficits using verb naming therapy paired with non-invasive brain stimulation. The type of brain stimulation we are using is called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). TDCS is a safe, non-invasive, and relatively painless form of neurostimulation that involves applying a weak electrical current to the brain via two electrodes, which are inserted into saline-soaked sponges and placed on the scalp.

We plan to start enrolling participants in this study in Spring 2022. If you are interested in participating in this study, please contact us at cranial@chapman.edu

 

Getting Unlost in Translation – Understanding Access to Mental Health Care in People with Aphasia

There is evidence that individuals with post-stroke aphasia and Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA), as well as their families and caregivers, are susceptible to depression and anxiety. Especially in the time of COVID-19, the repercussions of mental stress and isolation have become evident. The combination of stresses related to impaired language skills, as well as concerns and isolation caused by COVID-19, can greatly contribute to mental health concerns, and can be a significant barrier to effective treatment. It has become increasingly apparent that there is a need for collaboration between the fields of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) and mental health/counseling (e.g., Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) / Clinical Psychology) to better serve people with aphasia. We are conducting two surveys, one of people with post-stroke aphasia and PPA, and one of mental healthcare professionals. The goal is to gain an understanding of potential barriers for people with aphasia that impede access to mental health care.

 

We are currently enrolling participants in this study.

 

If you have PPA or post-stroke aphasia you can start the survey about your aphasia experience by clicking here.

If you are a mental health care professional or graduate student (e.g., marriage and family therapist, clinical psychologist, social worker) you can start the survey about your knowledge of special populations by clicking here.

 

If you have questions about this study, please contact us at cranial@chapman.edu

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Aprosodia Following Right Hemisphere Stroke

Right hemisphere strokes often impact the ability to both recognize and express emotion in speech. Unimpaired speakers naturally produce changes to their prosody (tone of voice, rhythm, rate, and loudness of their speech), which can drastically change the meaning of their utterances. For example, the sentence “I can’t believe you came!” has a very different meaning when spoken with happy versus angry prosody. Difficulty producing emotions in speech is termed expressive aprosodia, and difficulty comprehending emotions in speech is termed receptive aprosodia.

 

Our work in aprosodia following right hemisphere stroke has focused on investigating neural correlates of receptive and expressive aprosodia by investigating the relationship between specific prosodic deficits and lesion size/location. We primarily use structural MRI paired with behavioral testing for this research. The goal is to inform the development of evidence-based treatments to help individuals with aprosodia.

 

We are not currently enrolling participants with aprosodia in any studies. Please check back in the future to learn about new studies!

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Neurotypical Populations

We seek to understand how the brain comprehends oral and written language. We use a variety of methods including electroencephalography (EEG), MRI, and behavioral research to investigate how the brain is able to understand language using rapid and complex processes.

See below for information on specific studies:

Effects of Typography on Reading Comprehension

We are partnering with two non-profit organizations, ReadWorks and Readability Matters, in a study investigating the impact of typography features (e.g, letter width, spacing between letters, etc.) on reading comprehension in neurotypical readers. Our collaborators include Dr. Susanne Nobles at ReadWorks, which is a non-profit that focuses on partnering with teachers to solve our nation’s literacy crisis, as 2/3 of 4th graders in the United States cannot comprehend grade level text. We are also working with Kathy Crowley and Marjorie Jordan, the co-founders of Readability Matters, whose mission is to improve access to personalized reading environments to improve reading for all readers. Dr. Sofie Beier, a Professor and typographer at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, is another vital member of our research team.

 

This is a novel study using several behavioral tasks to understand how subtle manipulations of font format can affect reading comprehension in K-8th grades. We are also interested in determining how reading comprehension is impacted when a reader uses their personal best font format compared to other font formats.

 

We are not currently enrolling participants in this study. Please check back in the future to learn about new studies!

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