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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116

URI researcher awarded grant to
help stroke patients with verb use

Study to address formation of complete sentences

KINGSTON, R.I. -- March 13, 2003 -- A University of Rhode Island professor has been awarded $6,500 in grant funding to assist stroke victims with aphasia.

Mikyong Kim, an assistant professor of communicative disorders, will be working with people who have aphasia, the loss of the ability to verbalize ideas because of brain damage.

Specifically, she will be researching verb production among patients who suffer from what is called fluent aphasia. "Patients with fluent aphasia speak a lot, but they don’t fully comprehend other people’s and their own speech, and their own speech is very empty of content," Kim said. "Those suffering from non-fluent aphasia have a hard time speaking."

"We want to look at the factors affecting those with fluent aphasia in finding verbs," Kim said. "Once I can do that, I can help them."

The Kingston resident will be working with nine patients to follow up a study she completed at Northwestern University where she earned her doctorate in speech-language pathology. For that study, she examined 10 healthy adults, nine patients with non-fluent aphasia and 14 patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

"I will be using visual cues to test them, such as asking them to describe action pictures, and I will be asking them to tell me stories. I will also do sentence completion exercises, again using pictures," she said.

She will see each person during three, two hour sessions, the first for evaluation and the second and third for the testing.

For the next step, she wants to develop a treatment study. "Luckily many aphasic patients are very cooperative and they want to participate so they can help others."

Kim, who came to this country from South Korea, specializes in adults with neurogenic communication disorders, including those with dementia. She holds a master’s degree in speech and language pathology from Northwestern and holds a master’s degree in English from the Pennsylvania State University. Arriving at URI last fall, she holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, both in English, from Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea.

For Further Information: Mikyong Kim 401-874-4728

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