In this Article
What research is being done for aphasia?
Scientists are attempting to reveal the underlying problems that cause certain symptoms of aphasia. The goal is to understand how injury to a particular part of the brain impairs a person's ability to convey and understand language. The results could be useful in treating various types of aphasia, since the treatment may change depending upon the cause of the language problem.
Other research is attempting to understand the parts of the language process that contribute to sentence comprehension and production and how these parts may break down in aphasia. In this way, it may be possible to pinpoint where the breakdown occurs and help in the development of more focused treatment programs.
Although different languages have many things in common when specific portions of the brain are injured, there are also differences. Scientists are trying to understand the common (or universal) symptoms of aphasia and the language-specific symptoms of the disorder. Other researchers are examining whether people with aphasia may still know their language but have difficulty accessing that knowledge. These studies may help with the development of tests and rehabilitation strategies that focus on specific characteristics of one language or multiple languages.
Researchers are exploring drug therapy as an experimental approach to treating aphasia. Some studies are testing how drugs can be used in combination with speech therapy to improve recovery of various language functions.
To understand recovery processes in the brain, some researchers are using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to better understand the human brain regions involved in speaking and understanding language. This type of research may improve understanding of how these areas reorganize after brain injury. The results could have implications for both the basic understanding of brain function and the diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases.
SOURCE: National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Last Editorial Review: 7/6/2009
Viewers share their comments
Aphasia - Types Question: What type of aphasia were you or your loved one diagnosed with?
Aphasia - Treatment Question: What kind of treatment have you or your loved one had for aphasia?
Aphasia - Diagnosis Question: Describe the events that led to a diagnosis of aphasia.