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The Intensive Aphasia Program at North Memorial Medical Center is similar to the handful of other intense aphasia programs being offered in various parts of the USA and Europe. However, it is the first of its kind in the region. A great deal of research over the last few years has begun to uncover the fact that there is benefit to ongoing speech-language treatment during the “chronic” stages of aphasia. It has been shown that intensive treatment of an individual even years after his or her stroke can result in measurable gains. Furthermore, stroke survivors and their families report that such intensive therapy results in improvements to the survivors’ ability to communicate at home and in daily life. At North Memorial Medical Center, the Stroke Center has responded to this research by providing effective intensive treatment. Literature suggests that while language recovery during the early stages post onset of the stroke is largely due to neurologic recovery, improved language skills in the chronic stages may be due to new learning and may be enhanced by implementing methods from the “Constraint Induced Therapy” literature. Participants in this program have ranged from approximately six months post stroke to ten years post stroke. Our preliminary data indicate an average 11% improvement in the language skills of participants, as measured by the Western Aphasia Battery. We are also building an outcome database with a number of other formal and informal measures.

The Intensive Aphasia Program at North Memorial Medical Center is a 3-week-long program. Prior to treatment, each member receives a comprehensive evaluation of his/her communication skills. Formal tests are reviewed with the patient, information regarding computer skills and patient preferences are discussed and an individual plan of care is created. Treatment days include one hour of one-on-one therapy with a speech pathologist. An hour of computer-based treatment provides patients with the opportunity for independent language skill building, while also learning the fundamentals of using a computer. This aspect of our program has permitted participants to continue with language skill building at home aftr the conclusion of the program, using their own home computer. A 30 minute structured social time affords participants an opportunity to engage in relaxed, free-form communication with other stroke survivors. This time can also serve as a bit of a rest for those participants who feel fatigued from the previous two-hour stretch of therapy. Finally, during a one-hour group therapy session, participants have the opportunity to practice language skills in a natural conversational setting using structured tasks, supervised by one or more speech pathologists. North Memorial Medical Center will bill the patient’s insurance company. However, it is the patient’s responsibility to determine in advance whether his or her policy will cover the cost of the program. If insurance does not cover the cost, the patient will be billed.

For additional information, or to obtain an application form and information packet, please contact Gail Lommen at the Stroke Center at North Memorial Medical Center (763) 520-5900.

National Institute on Aging

The National Institute on Aging (NIA), one of the 25 institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), leads a broad scientific effort to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. Founded in 1974, Congress authorized the creation of the NIA to provide leadership in aging research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs relevant to aging and older people.

Mission
The NIA’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of older Americans through research, and specifically to:

  • Support and conduct high quality research on: aging processes, age-related diseases, & special problems and needs of the aged;
  • Train and develop highly skilled research scientists to accelerate research progress;
  • Develop and maintain state-of-the-art resources to accelerate research progress;
  • Disseminate information and communicate with the public and interested groups on health and research advances and on new directions for research.

Programs & Activities
The NIA sponsors research on aging through extramural and intramural programs. The extramural program funds research and training at universities, hospitals, medical centers, and other public & private organizations nationwide. The intramural program conducts basic and clinical research in Baltimore, MD, as well as on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD.

The NIA and Aphasia
The NIA plays an important role, as its population of study (the aging population) is largely effected with a variety of causes - namely strokes - that can lead to the acquisition of aphasia.

American Stroke Foundation

The American Stroke Foundation does not duplicate existing services - but complements them. We provide the missing link in the nurturing of stroke survivors … and those who care for them. In a warm, hopeful environment, stroke survivors apply and practice skills to overcome their disabilities and get on with their lives. Think of us as a “safe haven” where the focus is on the future. And it works.

This website has wonderful and inspirational stories of survivors and their caregivers. Look up The American Stroke Foundation for more information.

Speaking of Aphasia, LLC

Speaking of Aphasia, an organization dedicated to: work with the aphasia survivor and caretaker, so you will:

1. Better understand your aphasia, and how you can impact it
2. Learn what can help you be the best possible communicator
3. Define what is important to you
4. Choose classes that meet your needs
5. Help you cope well with persisting aphasia
6. Meet others travelling the same road
7. Reconnect with a new communicative world

For many individuals, finding the motivation to participate in therapy is sometimes difficult. Combining exercise with a systematic application of music is one way to address these difficulties and aid in the rehabilitation process. The Institute for Music and Neurologic Function was founded by the Beth Abraham Family of Health Services in 1995 to restore, maintain and improve people’s physical, emotional and neurologic functioning through the systematic use of music. Read more: Institute for Music and Neurological Function

Click here for another article on Melodic Intonation Therapy.

Athe Aphasia Solutions Network (ASN) is a community of people and organizations dedicated to helping people with aphasia talk again. They are dedicated to advancing the world of aphasia. Visit their website at Aphasia Solutions Network

The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and BioEngineering is the newest of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) research institutes. The act establishing the NIBIB was signed into law by President William Clinton on December 29, 2000.

Mission
The mission of the NIBIB is to “improve health by promoting fundamental discoveries, design and development, and translation and assessment of technological capabilities. The Institute coordinates with biomedical imaging and bioengineering programs of other agencies and NIH institutes to support imaging and engineering research with potential medical applications and facilitates the transfer of such technologies to medical applications.”

Activities
In support of its mission, the NIBIB will:

  • Support research & training through existing NIH funding mechanisms, and take the lead in exploring novel approaches for funding technology development and interdisciplinary research.
  • Form partnerships with NIH Institutes & Centers to translate fundamental discoveries into research and applications for specific diseases, disorders, or biological processes.
  • Coordinate with other government agencies to translate fundamental or crosscutting discoveries and developments in imaging and engineering, and related areas of information science and technology assessment, into biomedical applications.
  • Encourage and support the development of relevant standards and guidelines that will enable widespread adaptability for biomedical imaginig, bioengineering, and related information science and technology and computation, by taking a leadership role and coordinating role for the NIH.

The NIBIB and Aphasia
The NIBIB is the leading federal agency regarding the field of neuroimaging. The NIH recently held workshops on the effectiveness of neuroimaging technology as a tool for the rehabilitation and recovery efforts of aphasia sufferers. In January 2003, the NIBIB partnered with the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) to sponsor a mulit-million dollar research program to officially study the impact of neuroimaging on these rehabilitation and recovery efforts.

The BC Aphasia Centre

The philosophy of The BC Aphasia Centre is based on the model of “life participation” a world-wide movement that encourages and supports people with aphasia to participate fully in their lives and their communities.

The BC Aphasia Centre was established to provide understanding and hope for people with aphasia, their families and friends. We believe that people with aphasia have a lot to say and deserve to be heard.

The BC Aphasia Centre is a provincially incorporated non-profit charitable organization based in British Columbia, Canada, helping people living with Aphasia, their families and professionals in the fi

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States. Founded in 1887, the NIH today is one of the world’s foremost medical research centers. Comprised of 27 separate Institutes and Centers, the NIH is on of eight health agencies of the Public Health Service which, in turn, is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Simply described, the goal of NIH research is to acquire new knowledge to help prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat disease and disability, from the rarest genetic disorder to the common cold. The NIH mission is to uncover new knowledge that will lead to better health for everyone. NIH works toward that mission by:

  • Conducting research in its own laboratories;
  • Supporting the research of non-Federal scientists in universities, medical schools, hospitals, and research institutions throughout the country & abroad;
  • Helping in the training of research investigators;
  • And fostering communication of medical and health sciences information.

The main campus of the NIH is located in Bethesda, Maryland. Other branches of the NIH are located in Maryland, Montana, and North Carolina.