NIH-Funded Study Uses AI to Improve Language for Children with Cochlear Implants

Newswise — A new multicenter study will use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze preoperative brain MRI scans to predict individual language outcomes in English- and Spanish-speaking children up to four years after cochlear implantation. The long-term goal of the study is to customize treatment to increase children’s hearing and language skills after receiving a cochlear implant.

The research received a grant of more than $3 million from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders awarded to Nancy M. Young, MD, of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and Patrick CM Wong, PhD, of the Chinese University . from Hong Kong.

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“Although cochlear implantation is the only effective treatment for improving hearing and allowing spoken language in children with profound hearing loss, the development of spoken language after early implantation is very variable compared to children born with normal hearing.” said Dr. Young, Medical Director of Audiology and Cochlear Implant Programs at Lurie Children’s and Lillian S. Wells Professor of Otolaryngology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Our research is the first to propose a ‘predict-to-prescribe’ approach to language development by determining which child would benefit from intensive therapy. We believe this approach will be effective in targeting those most in need of additional treatment.”

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The study will examine how AI-enabled predictions of children’s language outcomes correlate with the level of language gains after an intensive Parent-Use Communication Therapy (PICT) program. PICT is the only treatment of its kind whose effectiveness is supported by randomized controlled trials.

“We think that the worse the predicted language impairment, the more the child will benefit from the communication therapy program,” explained Dr. Wong, Director of the Brain and Mind Institute and Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Linguistics at The Chinese University. from Hong Kong. “Our translational research will advance the field of communication disorders through technical, theoretical and clinical innovations.”

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Research at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago was conducted through the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute. The Manne Research Institute is focused on improving children’s health, revolutionizing pediatric medicine and ensuring a healthy future through the relentless pursuit of knowledge. Lurie Children’s is ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country US News & World Report. It is the pediatric training center of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.


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