GCU-led international stroke research network awarded new funding

The Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU)-led international Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists (CATs) has been awarded new funding to support its research aimed at improving the lives of stroke survivors with speech problems.

The funding from The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia will support a third phase of CATs work until 2024. The network currently involves more than 240 aphasia researchers across 40 countries.

Aphasia, a speech problem caused by damage in the language area of the brain, affects about 50,600 stroke survivors in the UK every year.

CATs founder and chair Professor Marian Brady said: “Aphasia is a devastating condition which impacts on someone’s speaking abilities, understanding others speaking, reading and writing, and affects about a third of people after a stroke, their families and the healthcare professionals that work with them.

“This extension of the previous Tavistock Trust for Aphasia award is a reflection of the Collaboration’s achievements over the last three-year period through international co-operation, co-ordination of effort and synergistic research activities and the challenges that remain to be addressed in this field of research and clinical practice.”

Professor Brady co-leads GCU’s Living with Stroke Research Group with Professor Frederike van Wijck, which is part of the University’s Research Centre for Health (ReaCH) – improving health and wellbeing for all.

ReaCH makes a direct and significant contribution to Sustainable Development Goal 3 – good health and wellbeing – issued by United Nations in 2015 as a blueprint for peace and prosperity across the planet.

CATs’ supports, co-ordinates and produces high-quality aphasia research internationally. The multidisciplinary collaboration involves neurologists, psychologists, linguists, social scientists and speech and language therapists.

It has produced life-changing research including adaptations of aphasia outcome measurement tools across 31 non-English languages, completed a National Institute for Health Research-funded individual participant data network meta-analysis of aphasia rehabilitation and predictors of recovery, the top 10 aphasia research priorities, a core outcome set and the advancement of trial methodology in this specialist field.

The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia was founded by Robin Tavistock, the late 14th Duke of Bedford who experienced aphasia following a brain haemorrhage. It is the only grant awarding trust that is specific to aphasia which aims to improve the lives of people with aphasia and their families.

There are now six CATs working groups organised around research themes including the creation and analysis of big aphasia databases, which is led by GCU stroke researcher Dr Myzoon Ali. Two GCU PhD students Atharva Bhagwat and Kathryn Vanden Berg are supported by the network.

Find out more about the Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists’ here.

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