Dr Rebecca Palmer guests on the NIHR Be Part of Research Podcast: Finding your voice after a stroke

In this podcast, ScHARR’s Dr Rebecca Palmer talks about aphasia: a language and communication disorder usually caused by damage to the left side of the brain, most commonly after a stroke.

Photo of Dr Rebecca Palmer, Reader in Communication and Stroke Rehabilitation at the University of Sheffield.

I could talk about public involvement forever. Working with the public involvement group was the absolute highlight of the study for me  -  they kept me going when the research seemed really tough. They were the people who were saying This is really important for people like me. We’re behind you. This is what we need.

Dr Rebecca Palmer


Around 110,000 people in England have a stroke each year.  About a third of survivors will have aphasia. Between 30 and 43% of those affected have symptoms in the long term which can vary between individuals.

Speech and language therapists work with patients and their carers to help them improve their speech and use alternative ways of communicating, but people with aphasia often want more therapy than is available. Most people make some improvements with speech and language therapy, and some people recover fully. However, speech and language therapy is resource-intensive and can be difficult to obtain in large doses over a long period of time in the NHS. Some small studies have suggested that computerised therapy might be an effective way to provide additional therapy for those who need it. 

The NIHR-funded Big CACTUS study compared the clinical and cost-effectiveness of aphasia computer treatment alongside speech and language therapy to speech and language therapy alone. The study shows that adding computerised speech and language therapy to the usual care can have some benefits for people with aphasia and is a relatively low-cost treatment. The study recruited 278 adults with aphasia from 20 NHS trusts in the UK.

In this episode, we talk to Dr Rebecca Palmer about the Big CACTUS study and what she learned. 

You can listen to the podcast via Spotify

This was originally posted on the Be Part of Research website. The original article has been reposted with permission from the NIHR 

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