This research is being done to help us understand whether and how the use of a drug, called escitalopram (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI), may improve language therapy effectiveness, as measured when naming untrained pictures and describing pictures, in individuals with aphasia within three months after a stroke.
Another goal of part of this study is to investigate the particular concentration of certain molecules in the brain of people with following a stroke and how the SSRI might change this. This will allow us to better understand how brains change in people receiving language therapy.
The purpose of this research study is to study the capabilities of new methods for studying the brain using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). MRI already provides detailed images of brain anatomy, but newer methods including new MRI techniques and magnetic resonance spectroscopy expand this capability. These new MRI methods will not require any invasive procedures. If successful, these new methods will expand the information, which can be obtained from MRI studies of the brain in patients with epilepsy.
After a stroke, many people experience a language impairment called aphasia. One of the most debilitating types of aphasia is non-fluent aphasia. Non-fluent aphasia is defined by significantly reduced speech production, with the speaker producing only a few words or even less. Speech entrainment therapy (SET) is a treatment that has been shown to increase fluency in people with non-fluent aphasia. Our study looks to define the best dose of SET that leads to sustained improvements in spontaneous speech production.
Participants who are eligible will undergo baseline language testing, an MRI, and will be randomized into one of 4 treatment groups: SET for 3 weeks, SET for 4.5 weeks, SET for 6 weeks, and no treatment (control group).
Speech and language therapy for the management of aphasia (a language impairment that often occurs as a result of a stroke) is generally shown to be effective. However, the reasons that certain treatments may work for some individuals, and not others, and why some individuals do not respond to treatment is largely unknown. In this study, we plan to identify and model the relationship between many different factors (such as personal/biographical factors and an individual's baseline cognitive and language abilities) to help predict aphasia treatment outcome. Participants will be recruited for speech and language testing, brain imaging (MRI), and aphasia treatment (as warranted).