Doctoral Candidate Niloofar Akhavan successfully defended her dissertation and has officially earned her Doctorate in Language and Communicative Disorders. Congratulations to Dr. Akhavan, her advisors, and her dissertation committee!
Dr. Niloofar Akhavan, PhD
Mitigating Sentence Comprehension Difficulty in Individuals with Aphasia
Aphasia is a condition resulting from stroke that impairs individual’s communicative abilities. There are currently one million individuals living with aphasia in the US and within this population many have sentence comprehension impairments. This dissertation aims to investigate (1) approaches with which sentence comprehension impairment can be mitigated in individuals with aphasia, and (2) whether the integrity of connectivity between frontal and temporo-parietal regions is predictive of individuals’ sensitivity to the proposed mitigation approaches. Overall, the data in the current dissertation revealed that reducing the interference level via semantic cues can benefit real-time sentence processing in individuals with aphasia. Moreover, there is an emerging pattern for the functional role of the anterior segment of the arcuate fasciculus and the frontal aslant tract in the left hemisphere regarding real-time sensitivity to semantic cues during sentence comprehension.
Advisors: Dr. Tracy Love, PhD, Dr. Henrike Blumenfeld, PhD