Aphasia is caused by damage to the language area of the brain, giving rise to difficulties speaking, writing, reading and understanding spoken words. Affecting a third of those who experience a stroke, it occurs in over 50,000 people in the UK every year.
Speech and language therapists supporting people’s recovery after aphasia have little high-quality information to support them in making decisions about the frequency, length and approach to therapy which is most likely to maximise the individual’s recovery.
Funded with £447,000 from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), GCU’s Professor Marian Brady, Professor of Stroke Care and Rehabilitation, is leading an international, multidisciplinary project to explore optimisation of speech and language therapy through delivery in a time and cost-effective manner and by tailoring to individual patients’ profiles.
Professor Brady directs a programme of work on stroke rehabilitation in the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHP RU), a multidisciplinary national research unit funded by the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office.
The research team is comprised of international experts from the UK, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway and Portugal with expertise in speech and language therapy, psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, stroke rehabilitation and data analysis.
Analysing over 50 international research studies with data on more than 3,000 patients, the team will look at how individual patients’ characteristics, stroke and aphasia profiles affect their therapy and rehabilitation and the importance of different features of therapy (intensity, frequency, duration, approach). This collective dataset will provide information on patterns of recovery from aphasia, the indicators for recovery and therapy components that facilitate recovery.
At GCU, Professor Brady will be working alongside Dr Myzoon Ali, Dr Andy Elders and Professor Jon Godwin. Professor Brady said: “This ambitious project brings together an international team of aphasia research experts. This research is essential to progress the field of aphasia rehabilitation. Improved understanding of recovery patterns and the effectiveness of different approaches to rehabilitation will give therapists’ more information therapy approach to therapy and tailor it to specific individuals and families, resulting in more effective therapy.”
Professor Brady already leads the Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists a network of aphasia experts from across 25 countries which seeks to enhance knowledge, skills and methodology relating to aphasia research.
Funded by European Cooperation in Science and Technology, one of the longest-running European frameworks supporting cooperation among scientists and researchers internationally, the project has partners across 25 countries, including Australia, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Russia and Serbia.