Rhonda B. Friedman, PhD

Professor, Department of Neurology
Georgetown University Medical Center
207E Building D
4000 Reservoir Rd. NW
Washington, D.C. 20057 
Phone: 202 784-4134
Fax: 202 687-1567
friedmar@georgetown.edu

Research Interests

Learning, memory and the rehabilitation of language disorders following head injury or stroke in men and women. 

Research Summary

I am interested in the sex differences in learning and memory and the rehabilitation of language disorders following head injury or stroke. Research in my laboratory focuses on deficits in language and cognition in adult male and female neurological patients with stroke, head injury and dementia. Patients studied include those with aphasia, alexia, agnosia, anomia and semantic memory impairments, as well as neurologically intact adults. The research program includes clinical case studies, experimental group studies, cognitive rehabilitation studies and fMRI studies. One currently funded project tests various experimental treatments targeted to different types of alexic disturbances, which were developed on the basis of a cognitive neuropsychological model of reading. Included in this study is a project that uses fMRI to examine the ways that the male and female brains implement the newly-learned reading strategies. Another funded study compares two methods of treatment for anomia, a widespread impairment in patients with left hemisphere brain lesions. This treatment draws upon the literature in the fields of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuropsychology dealing with the effects of effortless vs. effortful learning. Another study is comparing patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and patients with Semantic Dementia (a form of fronto-temporal degeneration) with regard to the nature of their respective semantic memory deficits. Such studies may lead to earlier differentiation of the two diseases, and hence to better management and amelioration of symptoms.

Representative Publications
  • Friedman, R.B. and Lott, S.N. (2002). Is decreased maintenance of treatment effects in alexia a result of diminished capacity or deficient memory mechanisms? Brain & Language, 2002, 83(1), 133-136.
  • Friedman, R.B., Sample, D., and Lott, S.N. The role of level of representation in the use of paried associate learning for rehabilitation of alexia. Neuropsychologia, 2002, 40, 223-234.
  • Friedman, R. B. The role of learning and memory paradigms in the remediation of aphasic disorders. Brain and Language, 2000, 71(1), 69-71.
  • Tagamets, M-A., Novick, J.M., Chalmers, M.L., and Friedman, R.B. A parametric approach to orthographic processing in the brain: An fMRI study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 2000, 12(2), 281-297.
  • Glosser, G., Grugan, P., and Friedman, R.B. Comparison of reading and spelling in patients with probable Alzheimer’s Disease. Neuropsychology, 1999, 13(3), 350-358.