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General objectives

Aphasia is an acquired language disorder usually caused by damage to an area (or some areas) of the left cerebral hemisphere; it is characterized by speech production and comprehension impairments, word finding and reading/writing difficulties. Aphasia research has focused on different linguistic levels, such as the production and comprehension of morphosyntactic structures, the lexicon, the phonology, and the ability to produce and comprehend narratives. However, many issues remain unknown:

  • Few studies have co-examined the interconnetction of different levels of language to understand their interconnections.
  • The “macrostructure” of language (communicative ability/ discourse) has not been examined yet.
  • Comorbidities between aphasic disorders with coexisting neuropsychological disorders have not been examined, so brain structures responsible for language processing and aphasic symptoms remain unknown, especially in the presence of permanent and severe deficits.
  • Few intervention studies in aphasia have focused on sentence-level therapy based on current neurolinguistic research the majority of which have not compared different types of therapy.

The aim of THALES-Aphasia is to extent present research and provide new perspectives in the studying of aphasia including the following objectives:

  • In-depth investigation of different linguistic levels in aphasia and their interrelations.
  • Study of the comorbidity with neuropsychological disorders and aphasic disorders.
  • Evaluation of aphasic disorders, relating the level of symptom severity, with the location and extent of left-hemisphere damage.
  • In-depth investigation of the efficacy of different types of therapy intervention in aphasia.

The project is carried out by an interdisciplinary team of linguists, neurolinguists, neuropsychologists, cognitive scientists, neurologists, and speech and language therapists, organized into three groups: