Project 3

Verbal communication is a highly complex process. Language recruits a set of brain regions, some of which are specific for speech and language, while others are also involved in memory, attention, and other functions. Stroke can damage any part of this delicate network, as well as disrupt the communication between parts of the network. This damage often leads to aphasia, the clinical term for impairment of speech and language, which is the focus of the research of the C-STAR team.

Project 3, led by Dr. Chris Rorden, aims to provide the methodology which helps to better understand the link between the damage to the brain, the resulting impairment of speech and language, and the potential to recover when the patient undergoes therapy. This project utilizes many types of brain scanning (evaluation of grey and white matter integrity, brain activity, and blood supply) to get a rich and detailed picture of post-stroke brain damage. This information is analyzed in relation to the data that we get from our team of speech-language pathologists, who evaluate the stroke patients on a wide range of tasks (speech fluency, comprehension, articulation, repetition, and many others). We are developing and validating methods that can combine brain imaging and clinical tests to predict which individuals are most likely to recover, and identify individuals who will benefit from specific forms of therapy. We hope the end result will be treatment tailored to optimize each individual’s recovery.

The team that is working on Project 3 has been active in developing and distributing the tools for data analysis and visualization of brain imaging data:

Selected academic publications:

Yourganov, G., Fridriksson, J., Rorden, C., Gleichgerrcht, E., & Bonilha, L. (2016). Multivariate connectome-based symptom mapping in post-stroke patients: Networks supporting language and speech. The Journal of Neuroscience, 36(25), 6668-6679.

Yourganov, G., Smith, K. G., Fridriksson, J., & Rorden, C. (2015). Predicting aphasia type from brain damage measured with structural MRI. Cortex, 73, 203-215.

Rorden, C., Bonilha, L., Fridriksson, J., Bender, B., & Karnath, H.O. (2012) Age-specific CT and MRI templates for spatial normalization. NeuroImage, 61, 957-65.

Rorden, C., Karnath, H., & Bonilha, L. (2007) Improving lesion-symptom mapping. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19, 1081-1088.

Rorden, C., Fridriksson, J., Karnath, H.O. (2009) An evaluation of traditional and novel tools for lesion behavior mapping. Neuroimage, 44, 1355-1362.