A stroke survivor's recovery from language difficulties is famously variable. Some stroke survivors respond better to treatments and recover much more quickly or more fully than others.
What is the research aiming to do?
In recent years, one promising explanation of the variability in these patients’ recovery has begun to emerge. Different brain regions serve different functions, and it stands to reason that the consequences of stroke should depend on the details of the brain regions which are damaged or preserved. Using high-resolution brain imaging, those details can be measured, non-invasively, in very large samples of patients whose outcomes are already known. Dr Hope and the PLORAS researchers at UCL have previously shown that they can use this data to link better or worse language outcomes to the presence or absence of damage in particular brain regions. They can, therefore, predict reasonably accurate outcomes for new patients with language impairments.
What difference could this research make?
The aim of the proposed work is to employ similar techniques to PLORAS to predict which patients are most suited to what speech and language therapy, which could then help them make a better recovery.