Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Research improves understanding of speech disorder

MEDIA RELEASE

17 December 2013

Award-winning research improves understanding of speech disorder


Click for big version.

Dr Caroline Wilshire (left) and Paula Speer.

A PhD candidate from Victoria University of Wellington has won an award for her research in the field of aphasia research and treatment.

Paula Speer from Germany was one of five people to receive the biannual Gesellschaft für Aphasieforschung und Behandlung (Society for Aphasia Research and Treatment) prize for outstanding work in the field by young researchers.

Ms Speer has been researching nonfluent aphasia, a language disorder that prevents people from organising words into sentences and speaking fluently after they have had a stroke. Her research has found that stroke survivors with the disorder need to choose common words early on in a sentence and avoid ones that are too similar in order to construct accurate sentences. Delays and confusion occurred when they tried to use similar—or semantically related—words in the same sentence, such as king and queen (two people) or bear and dog (two animals).

Ms Speer breaks from tradition by focusing on the word content of speech, rather than grammatical structure. Her research builds on the work of her supervisor Dr Carolyn Wilshire, Senior Lecturer in Victoria’s School of Psychology, which looked at single word production of people with nonfluent aphasia.

“Word content isn’t an area that has received a lot of attention, so in a sense I am going against the norm,” says Ms Speer.

“But it’s been very rewarding because I’ve gained a lot of clues into what’s an increasingly common language disorder.”

Paula designed a series of experiments to explore how people with nonfluent aphasia use words to construct spoken sentences. She also used brain scans of stroke survivors to identify the parts of the brain most strongly associated with the condition.

Dr Wilshire says Ms Speer’s research is a world first and reveals exciting new insights into how the disorder might be treated in the future.

“These findings help explain why people with the disorder have such difficulty producing longer utterances,” she says.

Ms Speer hopes her findings will help improve the way people with nonfluent aphasia are treated in the future and give speech language therapists and specialists new ideas about the best technology and treatments to use in rehabilitation.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Half Full: Dairy Payouts Steady, Cash Will Be Tight

Industry body DairyNZ is advising farmers to focus on strong cashflow management as they look ahead to the 2015-16 season following Fonterra's half-year results announcement today. More>>

ALSO:

First Union: Cotton On Plans To Use “Tea Break” Law

“The Prime Minister reassured New Zealanders that ‘post the passing of this law, will you all of a sudden find thousands of workers who are denied having a tea break? The answer is absolutely not’... Cotton On is proposing to remove tea and meal breaks for workers in its safety sensitive distribution centre. How long before other major chains try and follow suit?” More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ-Korea FTA Signed Amid Spying, Lost Sovereignty Claims

A long-awaited free trade agreement between New Zealand and South Korea has been signed in Seoul by Prime Minister John Key and the Korean president, Park Geun-hye. More>>

ALSO:

PM Visit: NZ And Viet Nam Agree Ambitious Trade Target

New Zealand and Viet Nam have agreed an ambitious target of doubling two-way goods and service trade to around $2.2 billion by 2020, Prime Minister John Key has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Economy Grows 0.8% In Fourth Quarter

The New Zealand economy expanded in the fourth quarter as tourists drove growth in retailing and accommodation, and property sales increased demand for real estate services. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: RBNZ’s Wheeler Keeps OCR On Hold, No Rate Hikes Ahead

The Reserve Bank has removed the prospect of future interest rate hikes from its forecast horizon as a strong kiwi dollar and cheap oil hold down inflation, and the central bank ponders whether to lower its assessment of where “neutral” interest rates should be. The kiwi dollar gained. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news