Document Type

Article

Subject Area(s)

Public Health

Abstract

This study examined patterns of neural activation associated with treatment-induced improvement of complex sentence production (and comprehension) in six individuals with stroke-induced agrammatic aphasia, taking into account possible alterations in blood flow often associated with stroke, including delayed time-to-peak of the hemodynamic response function (HRF) and hypoperfused tissue. Aphasic participants performed an auditory verification fMRI task, processing object cleft, subject cleft, and simple active sentences, prior to and following a course of Treatment of Underlying Forms (TUR; Thompson et al., 2003), a linguistically based approach for treating aphasic sentence deficits, which targeted objective relative clause constructions. The patients also were scanned in a long-trials task to examine HRFs, to account for any local deviations resulting from stroke, and perfusion images were obtained to evaluate regions of hypoperfused tissue. Region-of-interest (ROI) analyses were conducted (bilaterally), modeling participant-specific local HRFs in left hemisphere areas activated by 12 healthy age-matched volunteers performing the same task, including the middle and inferior frontal gyri, precentral gyrus, middle and superior temporal gyri, and insula, and additional regions associated with complex syntactic processing, including the posterior perisylvian and superior parietal cortices. Results showed that, despite individual variation in activation differences from pre- to post-treatment scans in the aphasic participants, main-effects analyses revealed a general shift from left superior temporal activation to more posterior temporoparietal areas, bilaterally. Time-to-peak of these responses correlated negatively with blood flow, as measured with perfusion imaging.

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