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Release: Immediate

$4.6 million will establish Center for Study of the Brain and Language

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The department of neurology in the University of Iowa College of Medicine has received a five-year, $4.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish a specialized research center to study the brain and language.

Program directors for the new grant are Drs. Antonio R. Damasio, Maurice Van Allen Professor and head of neurology, and Hanna Damasio, professor of neurology and director of the Laboratory for Human Neuroanatomy and Neuroimaging.

Other principal investigators include Drs. Daniel Tranel, professor of neurology, and Thomas Grabowski, assistant professor of neurology at the UI.

In collaboration with Dr. Richard Hichwa, director of the UI Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Imaging Center, the investigators will use functional neuroimaging techniques to study the brain mechanisms underlying the human ability to retrieve words with different meanings and grammatical functions.

In addition to their value in discovering fundamental brain and mind processes, the results of these studies will have a direct application in management of patients with language disorders caused by stroke, brain tumors, head injuries and degenerative diseases.

The UI team led by the Damasios has been an international leader in unlocking the secrets of the brain's functions, including emotions, language, cognition and reasoning.