Neural Predictors of Recovery from Auditory Comprehension Deficits in Aphasia

Project: Research project

Project Details


? DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Many types of brain injuries, particularly stroke, can result in serious language impairment. Many veterans with aphasia have some degree of difficulty understanding language when they are spoken to, which affects their ability to communicate. Some recover their auditory comprehension skills over time, while some do not. To date, there is no clear-cut explanation as to why this occurs, making it difficult for clinicians to offer a concrete prognosis to their patiets and family members as to the degree of language recovery that can be expected. The proposed study will examine the neural factors associated with recovery from auditory comprehension impairment. Novel neuroimaging techniques will examine the brain structures that affect recovery, particularly the fiber pathways that connect cortical regions to each other. Damage to these fiber tracts will be assessed with the latest in diffusion imaging to visualize and quantify the damage in individual tracts. 45 veteran aphasic patients with auditory comprehension deficits will be assessed at 1 and 12 months post- onset of their stroke to track the degree of comprehension impairment and the course of its recovery. Structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will also be performed at 1 and 12 months post-onset to assess the extent of the damage to cortical areas and whether this damage can predict recovery. High angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI), also obtained at the same time intervals, will quantify the extent of the damage to individual white matter pathways, while tractography will provide visual confirmation of each fiber tract in each patient. Finally, white matter integrity will be measured t 1 and 12 months to assess the changes that occur in fiber pathways during the recovery period. The proposed project will examine several aspects of recovery that have not been fully explored. With our expertise in aphasia and neuroimaging and our success in using HARDI tractography to characterize the full extent of the damage in white matter pathways, we are in a unique position to carry out this innovative research. This project will yield information that can
directly influence patient care; clinicians will have more accurate information with which to guide
their treatment approach, and better inform veterans and caregivers as to how to plan their futures.
Effective start/end date1/1/1612/31/19


  • National Institutes of Health


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