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Raymer Receives NIH Grant for Aphasia Treatment Study

Old Dominion University professor of speech-language pathology Anastasia Raymer has been awarded a $222,240 research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to examine potential treatments for patients with word-retrieval impairments.

Raymer's project, "Communication Outcomes for Naming Treatments in Aphasia," will investigate modified versions of two treatment techniques used to help patients diagnosed with aphasia recover lost or damaged verbal communication abilities. Aphasia is the partial or total loss of the ability to articulate ideas or comprehend spoken or written language, resulting from damage to the brain caused by injury or disease.

The two approaches to be examined, errorless naming treatment and verbal/gestural treatment, will be tested for their effects on patients' abilities in picture naming tests and on communication activities performance.

The study will follow 16 participants, eight for each treatment protocol. While recent studies have promoted verbal /gestural treatment and errorless naming treatment, the difference between the two has not been examined in a systematic manner. Raymer's study aims to determine whether or not patients receive a greater benefit from the modified version of either treatment.

The NIH funding encourages the participation of graduate and undergraduate students in the research project. Raymer said that her students had made significant contributions to past studies funded by the NIH.

"Many of my students have been co-authors and co-presenters as part of my past NIH funding," she said, adding that she expects that level of involvement to continue with this latest project.

Tracing its roots back to 1887, the NIH is the federal government's primary agency used for funding and supporting medical and disease prevention research. In 2007, the institute distributed $29 million in grants for research in a wide range of health-related topics, from children's asthma to alcohol use in minority populations.

This article was posted on: August 11, 2008

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