Wednesday 26 October 2016
The Academy of Aphasia is an organisation made up of researchers who study the language problems of people who have neurological diseases. These problems are collectively known as aphasia, which is estimated to affect about a third of stroke survivors.
Last week, Stroke Association-funded researchers presented their exciting aphasia research at the 54th Academy of Aphasia annual meeting, held 16-18 October 2016 in Llandudno, Wales.
Dr Holly Robson recently completed Stroke Association Postdoctoral Fellow and is a Lecturer in Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading. She shared her Stroke Association-funded work on the recovery of language comprehension in Wernicke's Aphasia.
Dr Robson is also the supervisor of Emma Pilkington, a speech and language therapist who was awarded a Stroke Association Postgraduate Fellowship in 2015.
Ms Pilkington's research is about non-word production in jargon aphasia, and it was her first time delivering a talk about her research at an international conference.
Speaking about her research and her experience at the annual meeting, Ms Pilkington said:
"Jargon aphasia is an acquired language disorder that can arise after stroke. In this impairment, the individual/stroke survivor produces nonsense words – a set of sounds put together that do not make a real word. We think these nonsense words are produced because the individual has difficulty organising the sounds in the right order to make a word. However, we don’t really understand why this happens, which makes treating this disorder a challenge. This can be really frustrating for the stroke survivor as they struggle to get their message across in a meaningful way.
"In the first year of my Stroke Association Postgraduate Fellowship I have been exploring how accurate these nonwords are, so we can get a better understanding of what might be causing their production. I was very honoured to present this work at the International Academy of Aphasia – a world-renowned conference dedicated to aphasia research.
"This was my first experience of an international conference, and my first time delivering a talk, so although I was nervous, I was very excited to share my Stroke Association funded research. My talk generated lots of interest, and I had the opportunity to discuss specific points in more detail during the remainder of the conference. I am looking forward to sharing this work at the UK Stroke Forum in November, where I will be presenting a poster."
The Stroke Association are delighted to have supported these researchers in producing high-quality aphasia research, and to have increased our capacity to deliver it through our fellowship programme.