What we do

The Aphasia Recovery Lab is dedicated to understanding how the brain recovers from brain injury, particularly when speech and language skills have been affected. Our current research is focused on the first year after a stroke while language skills are recovering and the brain is adapting and reorganizing. By combining a number of novel neuroimaging techniques and behavioral measures, we are investigating the contributions of different brain structures to the recovery of language production deficits, while examining specific neural changes during the first year post-stroke.

What is aphasia?

“Aphasia” is the loss of language skills due to a brain injury. Most individuals with aphasia have difficulty producing words and sentences, which affects their ability to communicate naturally. Some may also have difficulty understanding language and have difficulty conversing.

Quick Aphasia Facts

  • There are at least 2,000,000 people in the USA with aphasia.
  • More people have aphasia than have many other common conditions, including cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or muscular dystrophy.
  • About 750,000 strokes occur each year in the USA.
  • About 1 third (225,000) of strokes result in aphasia.

Source: National Aphasia Association

Is there help available for people with aphasia?  

Yes! Most people with aphasia experience the most severe symptoms immediately post-stroke. However, with speech therapy, one can strengthen speech and language capabilities. Research has shown that the brain continues to recover these abilities for the rest of one’s life after a stroke.

Here are some resources for people living with aphasia: click here

Aphasia Recovery Lab Newsletters:

Neuroscience News Corner

Researchers at Binghamton University recently tackled a long standing question in the field of neurolinguistics: is language unique to modern humans? The short answer: apparently not!

Using high resolution CT scans and virtual 3D models of auditory cortices, they concluded that not only were there stark similarities in Neanderthal and modern human hearing models, but that these similarities clearly demonstrate that Neanderthals also had an efficient communication system resembling modern human speech. The study also suggested that Neanderthal speech was very consonant-heavy compared to modern human speech. This aligns with suggestions in the literature today that a key distinction between modern human speech and ancestral speech is increased vowel usage versus increased consonant usage.

Click here to learn more about this study


Contact us
510-846-8905
dronkers@berkeley.edu
ivanova@berkeley.edu