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Supporting the development, conduct, reporting and dissemination of large scale, co-ordinated aphasia research activities which optimise the rehabilitation and recovery of people with aphasia

Welcome to our new CATs Newsletter

CATs News is available to aphasia researchers and trialists, clinicians, national aphasia associations, local support groups and members of the public who wish to subscribe. Have you got news to share with these groups?

We want to hear about

  • Your peer-reviewed aphasia research publications
  • New aphasia projects
  • Updates on international research collaborations
  • Media coverage involving CATs members
  • Prizes, awards and promotions received by members
  • Scientific conferences, activities and events 
  • Novel online resources for aphasia research
  • National adaptations of standardised aphasia assessments
  • Anything else you think we should be sharing or celebrating!
We are delighted to share with you the news that Dr Caterina Breitenstein has been appointed as our Dissemination Officer. As well as collating information on aphasia research conducted by our members, Caterina and the new CATs Dissemination Team (DT) will be publishing quarterly 'CATs News' updates and curating our social media to keep us up to date with Collaboration events and publications.

Caterina is joined by Ilona Rubi-Fessen, Hellmuth Obrig and Tanja Grewe to form an editorial team for CATs News. Ciara Shiggins, Caitlin Longman, Stefanie Abel, Norina Lauer and Katie Chadd will be curating social media for CATs. 

We look forward to hearing from you!
CATs Twitter
CATs Facebook
CATs Website
Email us
Dr. Caterina Breitenstein is based in Germany, was originally trained as a clinical psychologist and has more than twenty years of experience in conducting cognitive neuroscience research. Caterina has led several randomized controlled trials (RCTs), including pharmacological, non-invasive brain stimulation (tDCS, TMS), and neuroimaging trials on language learning improvement in healthy subjects and treatment-induced language recovery in chronic stroke patients.

Caterina has recently published in The Lancet the results of  the German multicenter randomised controlled health care trial FCET2EC. The trial compared intensive speech and language training (SLT) under routine clinical conditions to a waiting list control condition in chronic post-stroke aphasia patients. 

A new start for the Collaboration

With extended support for our international network from The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia, our Executive Committee has had a busy winter preparing for the next phase of CATs activities.

We are delighted to now be able to share some of our plans for the next three years with you. In response to identified needs in capacity building and researcher training, and in addition to our ongoing activities, we are launching a new programme of work which includes:



Collaboration success recognised in COST Final Action Report 

At this moment of transition for CATs, we have been reviewing the work undertaken over the past four years. An extended report celebrating the achievements of the COST Action will be circulated to Collaboration members shortly. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the report!

Working Group News

 The RELEASE Study (Working Groups 3 and 4) aims to establish an international database of individual patient data on aphasia. A highly coordinated approach in gathering and processing the data has resulted in almost 6000 individual patients' data from 28 countries. Working with 63 research teams the collaboration has built a database that contains information about participant characteristics (such as gender, age and handedness); their stroke profile (such as stroke type, severity and time since stroke) and rehabilitation or intervention information.

Since our last update, the RELEASE team has been working on preliminary statistical analysis and data synthesis relating to participants’ aphasia severity, naming, auditory comprehension, reading and writing abilities. The database will enable exploration of recovery following aphasia, predictors of and prognosis and rehabilitation approaches for aphasia. It will help to identify promising future directions of research, for both specific populations and optimal interventions. Our  long term ambition is that a version of this database will be available to CATs researchers to undertake further secondary analysis in the future beyond this project.

Changes to the CATs Team

Over the time since our last newsletter we have seen some changes to our committee. These include the appointment of Dr Caterina Breitenstein (Germany) to lead our research communications programme (as described above) and Dr Ruth McMenamin (Ireland) to lead the Early Stage Researchers (ESR) Training Network (see below). The appointments reflect the Executive Committee’s commitment to multi-disciplinary, international collaboration.
Dr Ruth McMenamin is a lecturer in Speech and Language Therapy at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Ruth is responsible for teaching acquired communication and swallowing disorders across the 4 years of the undergraduate BSc programme and she is co-director of the MSc Advanced Healthcare Practice and Research. Ruth has particular experience and expertise in involvement research withcommunity partners in primary healthcare using participatory health research approaches. Ruth uses participatory learning and action research to involve people with aphasia as co-researchers in Public and Patient Involvement activities including research.
Dr Ruth McMenamin

“I joined working group 5 of the CATs in 2015 and I am currently involved in the asset-based and the Conversation Partner Training research groups. CATs has provided me with fantastic opportunities to meet aphasia researchers from all over the World, to create meaningful collaborations and to learn from others in a supportive environment. I am looking forward to supporting all existing and new Early Stage Researchers and Junior Stage Researchers to get involved in the CATs group. Together we can co-create learning and networking opportunities with the ultimate aim of enhancing the lives of all those affected by aphasia”.
We want to express our grateful thanks to Dr Ritienne Grima of the University of Malta, who has been responsible for the incredibly popular CATs Training Schools in Malta. Ritienne developed and delivered three exciting, high quality training initiatives on behalf of the Collaboration that our members had the opportunity to participate in. Ritienne is stepping down to concentrate on her other projects not least of which is the ICPLA meeting in Malta, 23-25th of October 2018. Early bird registration is available until the 9th of April 2018.
Also stepping down as CATs Dissemination Officer to concentrate on other projects is Prof Kleanthes Grohmann. We would like to thank Kleanthes again for his long term support of the Collaboration and his active role in the development of our original website and co-hosting our Working Group meeting in Cyprus in 2015.

Lastly, grateful thanks to Vânia de Aguiar and Valantis Fyndanis who both stepped down as Working Group Deputy Leads (WG3 and WG2). Both were very active members of the Collaboration supporting the activities of their respective groups. They have both secured new tenured positions in the USA and we wish them every success in their future careers.

International Aphasia Rehabilitation Conference

I know many us of are looking forward to IARC 2018 in Aveiro, Portugal.
We have plans for several parallel activities at the meeting including a CATs Symposium during the conference, an Early Stage Researcher training and networking pre-conference event on the 4th September and some Working Group meetings.
Please note that the main IARC abstract deadline for presentation of completed work has been extended until the 9th of April. So there is still time to submit your work here.
Keep an eye on the IARC website and your emails for information about a CATs abstract submission process for ESRs and their ongoing work to be presented at the CATs networking event.
Hope to see you there!   
Click here for more information on the IARC call for abstracts

New Directions 

The Collaboration is a supportive multi-disciplinary and international network. Anyone conducting aphasia research in any country can become a member. Supporting Early Stage Researchers (within eight years of PhD award) and Junior Researchers (PhD students) is a CATs priority. We look forward to sharing more information about our ESR training opportunities in our next newsletter. Please share this newsletter with anyone who may be interested in joining.
Countries currently participating in CATs activities.
Click here for information about joining CATs
With best wishes from the Executive Committee
Chair Prof Marian Brady (UK)
Vice Chair Dr Evy Visch Brink (NL)
WG2 Lead Prof Spyridoula Varlokosta (GR)
WG2 Deputy Lead (Position vacant)
WG3 Lead Dr Anne Charlotte Laska  (SE)
WG3 Deputy Lead Dr Myzoon Ali (UK)
WG4 Lead Dr Evy Visch Brink (NL)
WG4 Deputy Lead Dr. Tarja Kukkonen (FI)
WG5 Lead Associate Professor Madeline Cruice (UK)
WG5 Acting Lead Dr Jytte Isaksen (DK)
WG4 Acting Deputy Lead Dr Caroline Jagoe (IE)
Trials Panel Officer Prof Audrey Bowen (UK)
Postdoctoral Fellows Mentor Prof Hanne Gram Simonsen (NO)
Mentorship Officer Prof Sue Franklin (IR)
Research Officer Dr Luis Jesus (PT)
Dissemination Officer Dr Caterina Breitenstein (DE)
Early Stage Researcher Officer Dr Ruth McMenamin (IE)
Administrator Kathryn VandenBerg (UK)                       

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Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists · NMAHP Research Unit · Glasgow Caledonian University · Glasgow, Scotland G4 0BA · United Kingdom

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