Shift of Language Function Impedes Post-Stroke Aphasia Recovery In a study designed to differentiate why some stroke patients recover from aphasia and others do not, investigators have found that an active right hemisphere bodes poorly for language recovery. Patients who recovered from aphasia returned to normal left-hemispheric language activation patterns—a discovery that may open up new rehabilitation strategies—according ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   August 01, 2013
Shift of Language Function Impedes Post-Stroke Aphasia Recovery
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Special Populations / Language Disorders / Aphasia / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   August 01, 2013
Shift of Language Function Impedes Post-Stroke Aphasia Recovery
The ASHA Leader, August 2013, Vol. 18, 38. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB7.18082013.38
The ASHA Leader, August 2013, Vol. 18, 38. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB7.18082013.38
In a study designed to differentiate why some stroke patients recover from aphasia and others do not, investigators have found that an active right hemisphere bodes poorly for language recovery. Patients who recovered from aphasia returned to normal left-hemispheric language activation patterns—a discovery that may open up new rehabilitation strategies—according to results published in the July 2013 issue of Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.
Researchers recruited 27 right-handed adults who experienced a left-middle cerebral artery infarction at least one year prior to study enrollment. After language testing, nine participants were considered to have normal language ability and 18 considered to have aphasia. Participants completed a battery of language tests and a semantic decision/tone decision cognitive task during functional magnetic resonance imaging to map language function and determine stroke volume.
The authors found that those who had stronger left-hemispheric fMRI signals performed better on linguistic tasks than those who had stronger signal shifts to the right hemisphere. As expected, they also found a negative association between the size of the functional lesion and performance on some linguistic tests. Right cerebellar activation was also linked to better post-stroke language ability.
The authors say that although a shift to the non-dominant right hemisphere may be associated with restored language function in children who have experienced left-hemispheric injury or stroke, for adults such a shift has been hypothesized to impede recovery. For adults, the left hemisphere may be necessary for language function preservation and recovery. The fact that left perisylvian lesion size is predictive of right-hemisphere activation may also help to explain the study’s findings.
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August 2013
Volume 18, Issue 8