In groundbreaking research, Thompson has shown that the brain has the capacity to recover many years following stroke as opposed to only in the first few months after stroke's onset. She also has demonstrated that behavioral treatment of aphasia focused on improving impaired language processing affects not only the ability to understand and produce language but also activity in the brain.
"Right now we know little about the factors that affect language recovery, although our recent work examining blood flow in the brain holds promise," Thompson said. In a landmark 2010 study, she and her team discovered that measures of blood flow can aid in predicting language recovery following stroke.
Researchers will study blood flow and other potential biomarkers of recovery, including brain activity during the "resting state." Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), they also will study the integrity of white matter tracts (the fibers that connect brain regions with one another) and whether damage to these tracts influences language recovery.
Across projects, the researchers will gather behavioral and neuroimaging data using a common, comprehensive battery of measures. They will include fMRI, structural and perfusion imaging and diffusion tensor imaging as tools for identifying, monitoring and evaluating areas of the brain associated with language recovery.
In more exploratory research, researchers will use eye tracking to study cognitive strategies used by healthy and brain damaged people while they process language. Researchers will track the eye movement patterns of healthy people, compare those patterns to those of people with aphasia, and stu
|Contact: Wendy Leopold|