SCSD Assistant Professor Dr. Elizabeth Madden Awarded with Grant from NIH

School of Communication Science and Disorders (SCSD) Assistant Professor Dr. Elizabeth Madden received an R01 subaward through the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Dr. Elizabeth Madden

The research team has been funded to explore their project, “Improving Reading Competence in Aphasia with Combined Aerobic Exercise and Phonomotor Treatment” which works to see how improving blood flow to the brain through aerobic exercise might improve the effects of a phonologically based reading treatment delivered to stroke survivors with aphasia, an acquired language disorder.

Dr. Olga Boukrina (Kessler Foundation) is the principal investigator (PI) for the project, and Dr. Madden is a co-investigator alongside Dr. Brian Sandroff (Kessler Foundation) and Dr. William Graves (Rutgers University).

The project involves a group of stroke survivors completing stationary bike riding prior to reading therapy, and another group completing light stretching prior to therapy. It is expected that the aerobic exercise group will demonstrate greater changes in brain blood flow and better reading outcomes after the intensive 8-week therapy. “This work can help us determine if it is beneficial to ask stroke survivors to engage in an exercise activity before their speech/language/cognitive therapy session,” Madden said.

When asked what impact she hopes this grant has on their research, Madden shared, “Working with this team allows for the coming together of different professions across neuroscience, psychology, speech-language pathology, and kinesiology who are all interested in improving the quality of life for individuals with aphasia.”

“It is very exciting to receive NIH funding. This award will help to further SCSD research productivity and provide research opportunities for students,” Madden said.