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COST Action IS1208
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January 2015
Welcome from Editor

Welcome to the first issue of CATs NEWs with all that’s new at CATs, the Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists. CATs NEWs is the new open-access dissemination organ of COST Action IS1208. The idea behind CATs NEWs is to keep Action members informed about what’s going on and at the same time present our work and activities to the outside world: researchers, health professionals working with aphasic patients, national associations, support groups, and all other interested parties.

CATs NEWs combines a report on what has recently been accomplished within and for, as well as by individual members from the Action with ongoing activities and future events. These may concern the Action itself, such as upcoming Management Committee and Working Group meetings, but also training schools, conference and workshops, seminars, and other lectures of relevance through the Action’s participating countries.

In these CATs NEWs we will also collect the individual CATs members’ recent publications in the area of aphasia research —trials, studies, and other relevant research. We will also update the community of research grants, awards, and prizes awarded to members from the Action.
If there are any special issues or topics you’d like to see addressed, please drop me a line: kleanthi@ucy.ac.cy

(Dr. Kleanthes K. Grohmann, University of Cyprus, CATs Dissemination Officer and CATs NEWs co-editor).

Collaboration Activities

 

The work of the Collaboration is achieved through five working groups, who pursue the objectives of the Action by contributing multi-discplinary expertise. 

You can keep up with ongoing projects, current activities and publications from each of the working groups through the Action website. Follow the links below to discover more.


Working Group 2 - Assessment and Outcomes

Working Group 3 - Prognosis and Predictors of Recovery

Working Group 4 - Effectiveness of Interventions

Working Group 5 - Societal Impact and Reintegration

CATs Action Conference 2105
Future Directions for Aphasia Research
City University, London

The CATs Action Conference followed the Action's annual Management Committee meeting and fruitful meetings of all Working Groups. The Executive Committee also had the opportunity to meet - all made possible by our wonderful organizer and host, Madeleine Cruice. Many thanks for a highly successful meeting!

Full programme available here.

CATs Launches Online Data Resource


As part of our efforts to improve international aphasia research, CATs is pleased to announce the launch of our 'CATs Clinical Trials Resource'. This has been established with the aim of collating and providing access to anonymised aphasia trial data for novel exploratory analyses. These data can be used to examine different aspects of research related to aphasia. For more information, please visit the CATs website.

Aphasia Research Training 

 
Training Schools for Early Stage Researchers are a core element of the Collaboration's activities. They provide intensive training in emerging research topics within the organisations involved in the COST Action. Our first Training School took place in May 2014. Hosted by the University of Malta, the participants were mainly, but not exclusively, young researchers involved in COST ActionsDr Chrysovalantis Fyndanis was one of the fourteen researchers; "My participation in the CAT's training school in May 2014 was a fantastic experience! I had the opportunity to attend very interesting lectures given by scholars who are international experts in their field." 
We are delighted to announce the programme for the 2015 Training School. Led by Prof. Linda Worrall (funded by the University of Queensland), Dr. Jytte Isaksen, Dr. Katerina Hilari and Dr. Meike van de Sandt Koenderman, this year's master class will focus on International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. The application deadline for researchers interested in taking part is 9th March.

The Cochrane Collaboration

 
The Cochrane Collaboration is a not-for-profit organisation of international collaborators which produces credible, accessible reviews of research evidence to inform healthcare decisions. The annual Cochrane report of review access and abstract downloads across the entire Collaboration (complied by Wiley Online) indicates that the Cochrane Review of Speech and Language Therapy for Aphasia Following Stroke (2012) was the highest accessed Cochrane Stroke Review in 2013 (4,767 full text downloads and 8,535 abstract views), coming in above other systematic reviews from this group including the review of organised inpatient stroke unit care and the review of the effectiveness of thrombolysis after stroke.

Following the publication of the 2012 Cochrane Review of Speech and Language Therapy for Aphasia Following Stroke, there has been a lot of trial activity. Some trials listed as ongoing in the 2012 review have now been completed. New trials have been funded and are in development or underway. Together with Dr Pauline Campbell, the original review team are now in the process of updating this review so that it reflects the current evidence base in relation to rehabilitation for aphasia. Pauline would be most interested to hear of any newly funded trials of therapy for aphasia after stroke or recently completed work which has been published or is as yet unpublished from any country and in any language. Please contact Pauline.Campbell@gcu.ac.uk  with any updates so that we can include these in the review.

COMPARE

 
COMPARE is an Australian national randomised controlled trial comparing two types of intensive speech pathology treatment (Constraint Induced Aphasia Therapy; Multi-modality Aphasia Therapy) to usual care, for people with aphasia 6 months to 3 years following stroke. 

After stratification by aphasia severity, 198 participants are randomised to Multi-modality Aphasia Therapy, Constraint Induced Aphasia Therapy, or usual care. Cognitive, language, and speech assessments at baseline will enable sophisticated predictors of treatment responsiveness to be defined. Primary outcome is immediately following treatment, but secondary outcomes are also collected 3 months following treatment.

The trial is funded by the Australian National Health Medical Research Council over 4 years and is led by Associate Professor Miranda Rose from La Trobe University. The chief investigators include Associate Professor David Copland (University of Queensland), Professor Lyndsey Nickels (Macquarie University), Professor Leanne Togher (University of Sydney), Associate Professor Marcus Meinzer (University of Queensland), Dr Tapan Rai (University of Technology Sydney), and Dr Erin Godecke (Edith Cowan University).

Supporting junior researchers

"The STSM provided a unique opportunity for me to visit the Neurocognition of Language Group in Potsdam, Germany. During my stay, we exchanged ideas about future potential collaborative research. It is easy and smooth to apply for a STSM, with a fast decision procedure... For me, it was a once in a lifetime experience."

The foundation of collaborative research is a commitment to share learning, ideas and experiences. CATS is supporting strategic knowledge exchanges by connecting junior aphasia researchers with expert research teams across Europe. Short Term Scientific Mission  (STSM) funding from CATs has already helped ten junior researchers to travel and work alongside specialists in their field of study. The reports from these missions are available here

Contribute to our online international listings for Aphasia Support
News from our Members: Publications and Awards 
NIHR Clinical Research Network for Stroke launches new resources
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