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Study seeking keys to restoring speech after stroke

Australians left speechless following a stroke are set to benefit from new WA Health research that will try to identify the course of care most likely to promote their recovery.

Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital speech pathologist Dr Erin Godecke is among 28 local health and medical researchers sharing in $787,500 of funding as part of the Department of Health’s FutureHealth WA Merit Awards program.

Dr Godecke’s award will support a project that will track the care and outcomes of patients across Australia with aphasia (an impairment of language that can affect speech, comprehension and the ability to read and write) as the result of a stroke.

These patients, who represent about 30 per cent of all stroke cases, are extremely vulnerable, experiencing high rates of depression and the poorest of health outcomes.

In the first six months of recovery, a third of these patients get better, another third make minimal gains and a third die.

The Merit Awards are open to Western Australian researchers who have narrowly missed out on National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding.  The Merit Awards help them to strengthen their grant applications in order to improve their prospects of success in future NHMRC funding rounds.

A full list of FutureHealth WA Merit Award recipients can be found here.