Acting Chair of the Department of Russian Language and Applied Linguistics Yelena Gorobets speaks about the research.
The workgroup helps neurologists in their work with patients, specifically in creating questionnaires that research lexical patterns describing symptoms of different diseases. Another their important part of the work is creating questionnaires for alexithymic patients. Alexithymia is a personality construct describing inability to express emotions in the self. The questionnaires with prepared words and phrases help such individuals to search for the necessary phrasing in the list instead of trying to think of a description. This kind of research is unique for Russia. Moreover, the interdisciplinary team now has its own research base at the Kazan University Clinic.
Speech rehabilitation for adult patients is relatively less developed in Russia (compared to children rehab). The researchers work with different patients, but mostly those with strokes. However, the work is important for senior citizens in general because the majority of them have to deal with amnesia symptoms at some point in their lives. Early diagnostics are very helpful in treating and correcting the syndromes.
The linguists work on language rehab with patients. This basically is very similar to school training – reading, memorizing and writing texts, correcting the discovered impairments. The group wants to introduce clinical linguists into general medical practice in Russia.
The questionnaires will also be helpful in general psychological diagnostics, especially in the cases of functional disorders of the nervous system. These are mostly diagnosed through a patient’s self-description, and this is where linguistics obviously is of utmost relevance. Depression has already been proclaimed the main health threat of the 21st century, so the importance of interdisciplinary research will undoubtedly rise in the future.