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Research Studies & Clinical Trials dealing with Aphasia

The Center conducts clinical studies to establish the efficacy and effectiveness of aphasia treatments. Research studies conducted by the Center include:

  • Augmenting Language Therapy for Aphasia: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial of Levodopa in Combination with Speech-Language Therapy

    This clinical trial evaluates the effect of the medication, levodopa, combined with speech-language treatment on the language outcomes of persons with chronic nonfluent aphasia. It is a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study. All participants receive 6 weeks of speech-language treatment, five days a week. Half of the participants also receive the medication, while the other participants receive a placebo (pill that looks like the levodopa but contains no active medication).

  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Aphasia Language Therapy
    This study assesses the safety and efficacy of a non-invasive brain stimulation technique, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in combination with speech-language treatment (SLT) in individuals with chronic non-fluent aphasia. All participants receive 6 weeks of speech-language treatment, five days a week.  In addition, participants receive tDCS (either anodal or cathodal stimulation) or sham stimulation. 
  • Cost-effectiveness of a computerized oral reading treatment for aphasia
    This study compares a treatment for aphasia when it is provided by a speech-language pathologist to the same treatment provided via computer. The treatment, Oral Reading for Language in Aphasia (ORLA), involves repeated reading aloud of sentences and paragraphs. The effects of the treatment on speaking, listening, reading and writing are assessed.
  • Computer treatment for aphasia: Evaluating efficacy and treatment intensity
    This clinical trial uses an updated version of the ORLA (Oral Reading for Language in Aphasia) to assess the effects of intensity of treatment – four hours of treatment per week versus ten hours of treatment per week. The state-of-the-art computer program (developed in collaboration with the Center for Spoken Language Research allows the participant to read sentences aloud at the same time as the words are produced by a “virtual therapist” on the computer screen.
  • Computerized training of conversational scripts to facilitate integration into the community and work force
    In this project, the ORLA (Oral Reading for Language in Aphasia) technique is combined with conversation script training into a new computer program. The project assesses whether practice with this innovative program is effective in improving conversation skills. Follow this link for more information about  Computerized training of conversational scripts to facilitate integration into the community and work force.
  • Effects of bromocriptine on aphasia treatment outcome
    This project develops the methods and protocols for clinical trials that evaluate the effectiveness of the pharmacologic agent, bromocriptine, on the language outcome of patients with nonfluent aphasia. An open label trial is currently being conducted with individuals who are within one month of the onset of their stroke.
  • Feasibility study of cortical stimulation combined with rehabilitation to enhance recovery in Broca’s aphasia
    This study determines the safety and efficacy of an investigational device that provides “cortical stimulation” in combination with speech-language therapy. Cortical stimulation involves the temporary surgical placement of an electrode on to a small area of the surface of the brain. The electrode then provides electrical stimulation to the brain during speech-language therapy. This study compares the effects of speech-language therapy alone to cortical stimulation combined with speech-language therapy.
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging and aphasia treatment: An exploratory study
    The purpose of this study is to determine whether changes in the neurophysiology of the brain accompany the changes in language skills that occur with aphasia treatment, and whether these changes can be visualized using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). This study is conducted in collaboration with the Brain Research Imaging Center at the University of Chicago.