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Alumna using VR in the service of stroke recovery

  • 07 June 2024
  • 1 minute

Brielle Stark (Neuroscience PhD 2012) is pioneering new ways of approaching the language problems faced by stroke patients.

She was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholar Award to conduct research in Australia, starting in Spring 2025. She will be moving to Australia to work with her long-time colleague Dr Lucy Bryant at the University of Technology Sydney on a study using virtual reality to address post-stroke language problems occurring in chronic aphasia.

She says: “A big problem in the field of speech therapy and language science is that stroke patients can improve on language tasks during therapy, but that often doesn’t help them in the real world. Virtual reality could be the middle ground. One reason we think the patients don’t improve in the real world is a lack of confidence in real life settings.”

Brielle left Cambridge in 2016 after completing her PhD under the supervision of Dr Elizabeth Warburton. Her research focused on language rehabilitation in persons with post-stroke, chronic aphasia through the evaluation of an iPad-based language therapy app, as well as investigating the presence of inner speech in this population. It was driven by her own personal experience of the impact of strokes after her uncle suffered a bad stroke in her first year of university.

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