Circuitry Assessment and Reinforcement Training Effects on Recovery (CARTER)

The CARTER research study investigates if providing positive reinforcement using movies and music to encourage or discourage certain brainwave patterns can have an effect on language skills for individuals with a language impairment known as aphasia. This clinical trial explores if this non-invasive brain-training intervention, also known as neurofeedback, can impact language skills in individuals with post-stroke aphasia and Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA).

What To Expect
During neurofeedback sessions, participants sit comfortably with an EEG cap on their head. They see a movie screen and hear musical tones while we measure their brain activity. The movie brightens, and the music volume increases as the participant meets his or her brain-training goals. The movie display and musical tones fade when they fail to meet their brainwave goals. The brain learns the brainwave patterns associated with the positive reinforcement and teaches the participant’s brain a new skill—how to achieve and maintain these new brainwave patterns.
Participants undergo two intervention phases: one phase that includes 15 sessions of active neurofeedback training and a second phase that includes 15 sessions of sham training sessions. The sham training sessions will mirror the active sessions; however, the feedback will not be based on the participant’s live EEG brain activity but rather random feedback. The order of these intervention phases will be selected at random (like the flip of a coin), and participants will not be told the order of the interventions until they complete the study. Every participant receives both the active and the sham training conditions.

How We Measure
Participants undergo speech-language testing, questionnaires, and EEG before and after each intervention phase. Participants have the option to also participate in functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) testing, which is a non-invasive brain assessment which tells us information about how their brain is functioning using small light sensors that are placed on a cap that is worn on the head. Your performance on language tasks, EEG, and functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) will be used to compare your performance pre- and post- neurofeedback to help us identify if the brain-training had an effect on your language skills and brainwave patterns.


We are actively enrolling participants with aphasia with chronic left hemisphere stroke and PPA. Stroke participants may enroll at 6-months following their stroke, but no more than 5 years. PPA participants can enroll any time.

Please contact us to learn more!