A new project aims to improve the lives of stroke survivors with aphasia

A researcher in Queensland will lead a new project aimed at improving the lives of people with aphasia, a debilitating condition that affects one in three stroke survivors.

Dr Jessica Campbell, Researcher at the University of Queensland and Ms. Marigold Southey Aphasia Research Grant recipient. Image Credit: The Stroke Foundation

Jessica Campbell has been awarded the inaugural Lady Southey Aphasia Research Scholarship of $99,869 over two years, as part of the Stroke Foundation’s 2022 research grant round announced today.

The grant will support the project called CHAT-Maintain: Preserving Language and Quality of Life Gains through Treating Aphasia with Low-Dose Technology.

Dr Campbell, from the University of Queensland, said aphasia is a common and chronic disability that affects the ability to speak, understand what people are saying, and read and write.

Aphasia increases the risk of social isolation and depression and often makes it difficult or impossible for people to return to work. It’s a difficulty with language, not a loss of intelligence. One good treatment for aphasia is intensive therapy, but for some people it’s not enough for long-term language improvement. We want to achieve a long-term improvement to ultimately improve the quality of life.”

Dr Jessica Campbell, Researcher at the University of Queensland and Ms. Marigold Southey Aphasia Research Grant recipient.

In the CHAT-Maintain research trial, people with aphasia will be trained to lead self-directed home therapy using technology for six months after completing intensive therapy. Speech therapists, volunteers and peer mentors will provide ongoing support. The results of people participating in CHAT- Maintain will be compared to those who completed intensive treatment without this support, providing insight into the success of the intervention.

The research will build on the success of the CHAT and TeleCHAT intensive treatment programs at the Aphasia Research Queensland Center partnering with the Department of Speech Pathology of the Surgical Therapy and Rehabilitation Service (STARS) at Metro North Hospital and Health Services in Brisbane.

Professor Amanda Thrift, chair of the Stroke Foundation Research Advisory Committee, said this research is a positive step toward helping people with aphasia for generations to come.

“Aphasia is a difficult condition to study. As a result, people with aphasia were underrepresented in the research. Professor Thrift said.

“We are pleased to support this important study with the first-ever aphasia grant from the Stroke Foundation in its 25-year history.”

The Lady Marigold Southey Aphasia Research Scholarship was launched by the generosity of Stroke Foundation sponsor Lady Marigold Southey and Stroke Foundation backers. It is one of four grants in the 2022 Stroke Foundation Research Grant Program. Information on other grants is here.

The Stroke Foundation hopes to continue to provide a dedicated aphasia research grant at least every two years and invites the community to follow the inspiring example of Lady Southey by making a donation now to her research programme.

Key stats

  • One in three stroke survivors is affected by aphasia.
  • It is estimated that more than 120.00 Australians live with aphasia.

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