EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University has received a $12 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish a center devoted to research on aphasia, a devastating language disorder that essentially robs the brain of language.
"In the U.S. alone, more than one million people suffer from aphasia, rendering normal communication impossible," said Cynthia Thompson, who will direct the new Center for the Neurobiology of Language Recovery. "For the first time, the best researchers in the field will work together to find biomarkers that can predict language recovery."
A world-renowned researcher on aphasia, brain plasticity and language recovery, Thompson is the primary investigator of the prestigious NIH Center grant and the Jean and Ralph Sundin Professor of Communication Sciences.
The center will bring Thompson and top aphasia researchers from Johns Hopkins, Harvard and Boston universities together to do large-scale investigations that shed light on how language is processed in healthy people and how language recovers when impaired by stroke or other neurological disease processes.
Research conducted through the new center will have the potential to challenge existing clinical practices for aphasia and promote the availability of treatment for individuals with chronic aphasia. Health insurance policies today typically restrict treatment to only a few sessions immediately after the onset of stroke.
The work of the center is expected to significantly impact clinical intervention practices for individuals with aphasia as well as expand knowledge about brain plasticity and the reorganization of language functions. The center, which will study more than 200 patients, also will generate a large database for other researchers to access.
At Northwestern, Thompson will continue her focus on agrammatic aphasia, a form of aphasia that affects the ability to understand and produce sentences.
|Contact: Wendy Leopold|