Approximately 2 million people in the United States currently live with aphasia. This number includes nearly one third of all stroke survivors. Neuroplasticity and language recovery in aphasia was the subject of the 2018 Research Symposium at the ASHA Convention.  

The five presentations from the research symposium were developed into articles for a forum in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research (JSLHR), with Swathi Kiran serving as the forum editor. In the introduction, Kiran (2019) points out that research in neuroplasticity in aphasia is particularly prescient because the difficulties in communication and social isolation that often occur in aphasia may have a greater negative impact on quality of life than diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer’s disease (Lam & Wodchis, 2010; cited by Kiran, 2019).  

In the first of these five papers, Turkeltaub (2019) presents a proposed taxonomy of brain–behavior relationships that can affect aphasia outcomes and provides recommendations for future research. Next, Kristinsson and colleagues (2019) explore the potential role that genetic markers may play in aphasia, particularly regarding language severity and recovery potential. Then, Wilson and colleagues (2019) describe adaptive language processing paradigms, tasks that can be used to determine each patient’s language processing ability in order to identify individualized performance levels and goals. 

The final two papers (Kiran et al., 2019; Thompson, 2019) look at language recovery in individuals with sentence and lexical processing deficits. Thompson uses neuroimaging approaches to discuss the neurological basis of sentence processing skills and to show that treatment focused on the principles of neuroplasticity promotes neurocognitive recovery. After that, Kiran and colleagues (2019) suggest that language recovery after aphasia is correlated with brain organization after stroke. These findings also tie in with the Turkeltaub (2019) and Kristinsson et al. (2019) articles earlier in the forum. 

The full symposium presentations that preceded all of these articles can be found online, both in the “Presentation Video” section of each article and under “Watch the Symposium Presentations” below. You can also read Context’s coverage of the 2016 and 2017 research symposiums. 

We’d like to thank Swathi Kiran for all of her work as guest editor of this forum. Check out the full forum in the latest issue of JSLHR, or explore the individual articles below.  

Explore the Forum 

Kiran, S. (2019). Introduction to the 2018 Research Symposium Forum. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62, 3905–3906.               

Kiran, S., Meier, E. L., & Johnson, J. P. (2019). Neuroplasticity in aphasia: A proposed framework of language recovery. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62, 3973–3985. 

Kristinsson, S., Yourganov, G., Xiao, F., Bonilha, L., Stark, B. C., Rorden, C., Basilakos, A., & Fridriksson, J. (2019). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor genotype–specific differences in cortical activation in chronic aphasia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62, 3923–3936. 

Thompson, C. K. (2019). Neurocognitive recovery of sentence processing in aphasia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62, 3947–3972. 

Turkeltaub, P. E. (2019). A taxonomy of brain–behavior relationships after stroke. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62, 3907–3922. 

Wilson, S. M., Eriksson, D. K., Yen, M., Demarco, A. T., Schneck, S. M., & Lucanie, J. M. (2019). Language mapping in aphasia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62, 3937–3946. 

Watch the Symposium Presentations