Navigation Links
Teaching the brain to speak again
Date:2/16/2013

Cynthia Thompson, a world-renowned researcher on stroke and brain damage, will discuss her groundbreaking research on aphasia and the neurolinguistic systems it affects Feb. 16 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). An estimated one million Americans suffer from aphasia, affecting their ability to understand and/or produce spoken and/or written language.

Thompson, Northwestern's Ralph and Jean Sundin Professor of Communication Sciences, will participate in a 10 a.m. media briefing on "Tools for Regaining Speech" in Room 103 of Boston's Hynes Convention Center. The "Teaching the Brain to Speak Again: New Frontiers in Trauma and Stroke Recovery" panel takes place in Room 304 from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

For three decades, Thompson has played a crucial role in demonstrating the brain's plasticity, or ability to change. "Not long ago, the conventional wisdom was that people only could recover language within three months to a year after the onset of stroke," she says. "Today we know that, with appropriate training, patients can make gains as much as 10 years or more after a stroke."

Thompson has probably contributed more findings on the effects of brain damage on language processing and the ways the brain and language recover from stroke than any other single researcher. Her particular interest is agrammatic aphasia, which impairs abstract knowledge of grammatical sentence structure and makes sentence production and understanding difficult.

Among the first researchers to use functional magnetic resonance imaging to study recovery from stroke, Thompson found that behavior treatment that focused on improving impaired language processing affects not only the ability to understand and produce language but also brain activity.

She found shifts in neural activity in both cerebral hemispheres associated with recovery, with the greatest recovery seen in undamaged brain regions within the language network engaged by healthy people, albeit regions recruited for various language activities.

"It's a matter of 'use it or lose it,'" Thompson says. "The brain has the capacity to learn and relearn throughout life, and it is directly affected by the activities we engage in. Language training that focuses on principles of normal language processing stimulates the recovery of neural networks that support language."

Thompson will discuss research she will conduct as principal investigator of a $12 million National Institutes of Health Clinical Research Center award to study biomarkers of recovery in aphasia.

Working with investigators from a number of universities, Thompson will explore the role blood flow plays in language recovery in chronic stroke patients. In addition, she will conduct cutting-edge, exploratory research using eye tracking to understand how people compute language as they hear it in real time. Eye-tracking techniques have been found to discern subtle problems underlying language deficits in acquired aphasia.

In a landmark 2010 study, she and colleagues discovered two critical variables related to understanding brain damage recovery. They found that stroke not only results in cell death in certain regions of the brain but that it also decreases blood flow (perfusion) to living cells that are adjacent (and sometimes even distant) to the lesion.

Until that study, hypoperfusion (diminished blood flow) was thought only to be associated with acute stroke. Her team also found that greater hypoperfusion led to poorer recovery.


'/>"/>
Contact: Wendy Leopold
w-leopold@northwestern.edu
847-491-4890
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Teaching about hearing can save young peoples ears
2. Mini-CT scanner developed as a teaching tool
3. SF State biology department receives $1.5 million to support science teaching
4. MARC travel awards announced for 2012 Institute on Teaching and Mentoring
5. Teaching a microbe to make fuel
6. Partnership enhances biology teaching at California community colleges
7. Young gamers offer insight to teaching new physicians robotic surgery
8. Surprising teaching tool in K-12 science education -- Zebrafish research
9. Univ. of Miami profs Chen and Soden named Fellows of AMS, Albrecht receives AMS Teaching Award
10. REST is crucial for the timing of brain development
11. Holding a mirror to brain changes in autism
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/23/2017)... Mar. 23, 2017 Research and Markets has ... Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to ... ... a CAGR of around 8.8% over the next decade to reach ... analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for all the given segments ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel ... came to the DERMALOG stand together with the Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo ... At the largest German biometrics company the two government leaders could see ... as well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   Continue ... ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... Australia , March 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... at the prestigious World Lung Imaging Workshop at the ... Fouras , was invited to deliver the latest data ... This globally recognised event brings together leaders at the ... latest developments in lung imaging. "The ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... March 24, 2017 MiMedx Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... human placental tissue allografts and patent-protected processes to develop ... of healthcare, announced today  that it will present at ... , NY.  Parker H. "Pete" Petit, Chairman and ... Christopher M. Cashman , EVP and Chief Commercialization ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... -- On Thursday, March 23, 2017, the ... 0.07%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.02% lower, ... at 2,345.96, marginally dropping 0.11%. US markets saw a ... sectors finished in red, and 1 sector ended flat ... coverage on the following Biotechnology equities: BioDelivery Sciences International ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... San Diego, Calif. (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 , ... Lajollacooks4u is proud to ... in 2008, it has hosted corporate cooking challenges for companies around the world, such as ... , Part of the reason for its increasing popularity is due to its new ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017  GlobeImmune, Inc. today ... for the sale of 12,835,490 shares of its common ...  ecosystem of companies. In connection with the sale of its ... in cash and issue to GlobeImmune 200,000 shares, an ... "We are pleased to enter into ...
Breaking Biology Technology: