June is Aphasia Awareness Month

Research in Dr. Elizabeth Rochon’s lab is a team effort. Together, her team is focused on transforming lives of people living with aphasia and dementia. Their research therapies for stroke and neurodegenerative diseases are receiving world-wide attention.

Currently, the lab is developing new treatments for language impairments for individuals who have aphasia following a stroke. In addition to addressing questions of efficacy and effectiveness, this work also addresses questions of brain-behaviour relationships and neuroplasticity.

fmri3For example, in one ongoing study, Dr. Rochon and collaborators (C. Leonard, L. Laird, K. Marcotte, C. Grady, S. Graham, J. Meltzer) are using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural processing characteristics associated with changes in the ability to produce a word as a function of different treatment intensity regimens for naming impairments in aphasia.

screenshotIn another ongoing study (C. Leonard, L. Laird, T. Simic), the researchers are investigating the usability of remotely delivered treatment (i.e., over the internet) to patients post stoke for their naming impairments. Preliminary results were presented at the Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC) conference in Ottawa in May 2014, and will be presented at the Advances in Stroke Recovery conference (Heart and Stroke Foundation Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery) in Ottawa, June 9-10, 2014.  Overall, individuals with aphasia demonstrated proficiency with the Internet-based treatment after minimal practice, as well as learnability across sessions. They also expressed interest in this form of delivery for aphasia treatment in the future.image arm and keyboard

All of these projects are carried out with a large, multidisciplinary group of collaborators, postdoctoral fellows, students, research staff and volunteers.