UCL Institute of Neurology


Cognitive Neurology

Cognitive neurology

Five clusters of voxels survive a whole brain correction for multiple comparisons. Peak positive and negative clusters are displayed in axial slices*

Investigating how cognitive processes (thinking, memory and language skills) are damaged by acquired brain injury and how to restore or compensate for their loss.


Professor Alex Leff

Research Team

Research Goals

  • To develop novel, evidence-based therapies for patients with cognitive impairment and to investigate how, at a neural network level, these therapies work.
  • To identify key brain and behaviour markers that will allow us to make individualized predictions of: i) recovery from brain injury; ii) response to therapies for brain injury
  • See also http://www.ucl.ac.uk/aphasialab/

Funded Research Projects

  • Digital neuro-interventions to enhance re-learning in patients with acquired and degenerative brain diseases. Developing three separate digital neuro-interventions for: (1) patients with visuospatial neglect; (2) patients with dementia who forget familiar names; (3) aphasic patients who have word-finding difficulties. Funded by an NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) Research Professorship.
  • The ‘Listen-In’ project: developing, testing and rolling-out at a web-based therapy application for patients with impaired speech comprehension caused by stroke. Funded by the NIHR i4i programme.
  • The Read-Right and Eye-Search projects are for patients with hemianopia that causes, respectively, a reading problem and a problem with visual search. Both therapies work by retraining eye movements, to make them more efficient. Funded by the Stroke Association and NIHR.
  • Back of the brain project: a cross-sectional study with a new approach to cerebral localisation of visual perceptual functions. Funded by the Danish Research Council.
Recent publications from Cognitive Neurology

Nardo D, Holland R, Leff A, Price C, Crinion J. Less is more: Neural mechanisms underlying anomia treatment in chronic aphasic patients. Brain, online 1 December 2017 doi.org/10.1093/brain/awx234

Fleming V, Krason A, Leach R, Leff A, Brownsett S.  Listen-In:  high-dose home-based auditory comprehension therapy is achievable and effective.  Int J Stroke 2017; 12:24, online 1 November 2017

Dalmaijer ES, Li KMS, Gorgoraptis N, Leff AP, Cohen DL, Parton A, Husain M, Malhotra PA.  A randomised double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study of single-dose guanfacine in unilateral neglect following stroke.  Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, accepted for publication

Leff AP, Boyd LA, Hayward KS, Ward NS, Stinear CM, Rosso C, Fisher RJ, Carter AR, Copland DA, Carey LM et al. Biomarkers of stroke recovery: Consensus-based core recommendations from the Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Roundtable (SRRR). International Journal of Stroke,
2017 Jul;12(5):480-493. doi: 10.1177/1747493017714176.


Yelden K, Duport S, James LM, Kempny A, Farmer SF, Leff AP, Playford ED. Late recovery of awareness in prolonged disorders of consciousness – a cross-sectional cohort study. Disability and Rehabilitation 2017 Jun 21:1-6. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2017.1339209. [Epub ahead of print]

Gajardo-Vidal A, Lorca-Puls DL, Hope TMH, Parker Jones O, Seghier ML, Oberhuber M, Prejawa S, Crinion JC,  Leff AP, Green DW, Price CJ. Using TMS of the undamaged brain to identify lesion sites that predict language outcome after stroke. Brain 2017; 140(6):1729-1742 doi: 10.1093/brain/awx087.

Hope TMH, Leff AP, Prejawa S, Bruce R, Haigh Z, Lim L, Ramsden S, Oberhuber M, Ludersdorfer P, Crinion JC, Seghier ML, Price CJ. Right hemisphere structural adaptation and changing language skills years after left hemisphere stroke. Brain 2017; 140(6):1718-1728 doi: 10.1093/brain/awx086.

Woodhead ZVJ, Crinion J, Penny W, Teki S, Price CJ, Leff AP. Auditory training changes temporal lobe connectivity in ‘Wernicke’s aphasia’: a randomised trial. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, online 4 March 2017 doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2016-314621. Epub 2017 Mar 4.

Holland R, Leff AP, Penny WD, Rothwell JC, Crinion J. Modulation of frontal effective connectivity during speech. Neuroimage. 2016 Oct 15;140:126-33. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.01.037. Epub 2016 Jan 26.

Kempny AM, James L, Yelden K, Duport S, Farmer S, Playford ED, Leff AP. Functional near infrared spectroscopy as a probe of brain function in people with prolonged disorders of consciousness. Neuroimage: Clinical 2016; 12:312-319 doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2016.07.013. eCollection 2016.

Further information



 *  Hope et al. Right hemisphere structural adaptation and changing language    skills years after left hemisphere stroke. Brain 2017; 140(6):1718-1728 10.1093/brain/awx086