Facilitated By

San Antonio Medical Foundation

Effect of mild traumatic brain injury on predictive processing in language comprehension

The University of Texas at San Antonio

The University of Texas at San Antonio is an emerging Tier One research institution with nearly 29,000 students.

Principal Investigator(s)
Nicole Wicha
Alicia Swan
Funded by
Research Start Date

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) impacts 2.5 million people in the U.S. annually. Most people will sustain mild TBI (mTBI). with approximately 13% experiencing chronic cognitive symptoms impacting quality of life. Individuals with mTBI report experiencing sub-clinical deficits in language that include difficulty with starting. maintaining. and following conversations. However. these symptoms are mostly self-reported and elusive using existing clinical tools. Language comprehension demands the efficient construction of a coherent message from a rapid stream of input. Healthy young adults facilitate this process by using sentence context to predict likely continuations. We hypothesize that mTBI should impact language comprehension by taxing executive function. which will exhibit not as specific deficits in grammar or meaning. but as reduced ability to predict upcoming elements in a sentence. To lay the groundwork needed to test this. continuous brain activity will be recorded while individuals without mTBI read or listen to sentences with target probes. This new collaborative team. with expertise in neurobiology of language (Wicha. COS). Speech-Language Pathology after TBI (Norman. UT Health) and meta-analysis of TBI outcome factors (Swan. HCAP). will develop an NIH R21 application based on our seed-grant pilot data. The objectives of this seed grant are to 1) develop an experimental paradigm to measure predictive language comprehension. 2) identify communication disorder-related phenotypes of mTBI that are likely to lead to prediction deficits. and 3) acquire pilot electrophysiology data from individuals with and without mTBI. The long-term goal is to quantify the effect of mTBI on language comprehension.

Collaborative Project
Basic Research
Behavioral Health