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The University of Texas at Dallas, P.O. Box 830688, Richardson, Texas 75083-0688

News Release

News contact: Jenni Bullington, UTD, (972) 883-4431, [email protected]

U.T. Dallas Researcher Receives
NIH Grant to Study Aphasia

RICHARDSON, Texas (Jan. 21, 2003) - A researcher from the Callier Center for Communication Disorders at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) has won a $150,000 grant to study aphasia - specifically how the language disorder changes a person's ability to tell both real-life and fictional stories.

The grant will be awarded over three years by a division of the National Institutes of Health - the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). An additional one-time contribution of $10,000 came from Callier Center's Excellence in Education fund.

Aphasia, which usually occurs as the result of a stroke or other brain injury, can damage speaking ability, comprehension, reading and writing. Dr. Gloria Olness, a clinical researcher at UTD, along with other researchers from UTD, Howard University in Washington, D.C., and the University of North Texas, will use results from the study to develop ways to improve rehabilitation services for people with aphasia, particularly African Americans.

Olness said the study also would investigate how ethnicity influences adults' telling of stories. "Few of the previous studies about the story-telling ability of people with aphasia have compared participants of different ethnicities, and many studies have only included Caucasians, leading to potential bias in clinical services for those from culturally and linguistically diverse groups," she said.

There is a special need for inclusion of African Americans in research about aphasia because they have a higher incidence of diabetes and hypertension, which are often associated with stroke. There are approximately 80,000 new aphasia cases per year in the United States.

"The long-range goal of our research will be to develop ethnically unbiased narrative testing that is sensitive to the presence of aphasia and to ethnic stylistic differences," Olness said. "Ultimately, we hope to help clinicians provide the best possible services for all those affected by the condition."

Researchers at UTD have long been focused on aphasia. Dr. Hanna Ulatowska began studies about the condition over three decades ago and initiated a focus on African Americans with aphasia more than seven years ago. Molly Keebler runs a clinical program for adults with communication disorders in South Dallas and Oak Cliff.

Increased awareness about aphasia is important because in the past it was thought that no improvement in language was possible after about six months following a stroke. Olness' study focuses on functional adaptations in communication by individuals with aphasia, months and years after the onset of their stroke.

Paid participants in the study will include African American and Caucasian adults with and without stroke-induced language disorder (aphasia). Those interested in participating in the study or obtaining more information should contact Olness at (214) 905-3102.

About UTD
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 13,000 students. The school's freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university's web site at http://www.utdallas.edu.

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This page last updated
August 03, 2013