The Center for the Neurobiology of Language Recovery (CNLR) is supported by a $12 million National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) Clinical Research Center grant. The Center is uniquely focused on research investigating how language recovers in aphasia, how treatment affects recovery, how the neural networks for language reorganize during recovery, and what factors predict language recovery.
The unprecedented Center brings together top researchers in the field to study language recovery in aphasia. The Director of CNLR, Cynthia, K. Thompson, Ph.D., is joined by Todd B. Parrish, Ph.D. at Northwestern University, as well as David Caplan, M.D., Ph.D. from Harvard University, Swathi Kiran, Ph.D., CCC-SLP from Boston University, and Brenda Rapp, Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. The Center focuses its research efforts on language recovery in stroke-induced, chronic aphasia. Currently, our research investigates three different types of aphasia: agrammatism (sentence processing deficits), dysgraphia (spelling and writing deficits), and anomia (naming deficit).
CNLR is the only center of its kind: this comprehensive aphasia research center uses advanced neuroimaging techniques to investigate the effects of treatment in people with aphasia. An additional aim of CNLR is to better understand the neural correlates of language recovery in chronic aphasia, as well as to identify biomarkers of language/brain recovery. Some of the techniques used to detect and evaluate brain changes associated with recovery include functional magnetic imaging (fMRI), perfusion and arterial spin labeling (ASL), and structural imaging such as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Two primary goals of CNLR are to improve treatment methods for people with aphasia and to advance knowledge about neural plasticity.
The Center’s research has important clinical implications and will likely contribute significantly to our understanding of aphasia, the way language is processed in the brain, and the way the brain changes over time when language recovers. Ultimately, research from the Center will provide a better understanding of the capacity of the human brain to recover from traumatic events (like stroke).