by Destiny Chance
Columbia, SC — The National Institutes of Health gave the University of South Carolina $11 million to study aphasia. Aphasia is a condition caused by stroke that affects a person’s ability to read, write, and speak. According to the CDC in 2014 South Carolina was the state with the 7th highest stroke death rate in the nation.With this new grant, USC’s main goal is to improve rehabilitation and recovery, hoping to have patients complete at least two months of therapy.USC’s Julius Fridriksson is the professor that received this grant, and says South Carolina typically doesn’t receive these type of grants and highlights how it’s competitive to the whole country.
“Anybody from any institution could apply for this. So this is a big influx of money, but here in our state the need is very great.”
He adds by saying, “in the U.S. about 1 million people have aphasia and we haven’t done a very good job helping them cope with a very difficult situation, because when you can’t speak and comprehend very well that makes for a very difficult life.”
Fridriksson relies on detailed pictures of the brains and stroke patients, because it shows blood flow, and functionality of the brain to help researchers better understand changes related to stroke and recovery.
Fridriksson says, “the study we are about to take on, once we finish it, is going to be the largest study of aphasia recovery in the past couple of decades.”
The grant will allow work on 4 major projects:
-Work with chronic patients, assessing a patient’s neurophysiology before starting treatment, providing behavioral treatment, and trying to predict who will respond well or poorly to treatment
-Assess patients who have just had a stroke
-Build a model who’s most likely to recover and who’s not, based on factors of patients
-A study that looks at models of speech and language in normal people and then relating those to recovery in patients
He says the first thing they want to know is why there are inconsistencies in who responds to treatments.
The grant will last 5 years, and Fridriksson says he hopes 35 years from now the grant will be continually renewed. USC will start using the funds April 1st.
If you would like more information on how you can receive free stroke rehabilitation through this grant, call (803) 777-2693.