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Exploring new pathways to language
Date:2/17/2009

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Stefanatos' study looked at the use of D-AMPH in ten aphasia patients. All were also given a placebo for comparison purposes. In each condition, participants were asked to make decisions about different types of speech sounds (vowels, consonant-vowels) and complex tones. Their brain's electrical response to each was recorded via an electroencephalogram (EEG).

Those who took the D-AMPH had a strong reaction to the sounds even to consonant-vowel sounds, which are more often difficult for individuals with aphasia to process.

"This tells us that D-AMPH may help the left hemisphere of the brain regain the ability to perform its functions," said Stefanatos. "Understanding why the drug is having this effect allows us to start to think about how to tailor treatments to make them more effective or explore alternative drugs or drug combinations."

Stefanatos said he and his team chose to look at this particular drug because in patients with ADHD it has been shown to stimulate the release of dopamine and epinephrine, which help in attention and learning. But he notes that some people aren't good candidates for this particular drug.

"Now that we have a rudimentary understanding of why the drug may work to enhance the results of therapy, our next step is to look at dose effects and perhaps other drugs with more favorable side effect profiles," said Stefanatos.

Stefanatos will next study functional magnetic resonance imaging to explore the effects of D-AMPH on cerebral metabolism and where in the brain of individuals with aphasia it has the greatest effect.


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Contact: Renee Cree
renee.cree@temple.edu
215-707-1583
Temple University
Source:Eurekalert  

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