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Neuroradiology. 2009 Sep;51(9):549-55. doi: 10.1007/s00234-009-0534-7. Epub 2009 May 12.

Assessment of arcuate fasciculus with diffusion-tensor tractography may predict the prognosis of aphasia in patients with left middle cerebral artery infarcts.

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Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, 465 Kajii-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, 602-8566, Japan.



It is often clinically difficult to assess the severity of aphasia in the earliest stage of cerebral infarction. A method enabling objective assessment of verbal function is needed for this purpose. We examined whether diffusion tensor (DT) tractography is of clinical value in assessing aphasia.


Thirteen right-handed patients with left middle cerebral artery infarcts who were scanned within 2 days after stroke onset were enrolled in this study. Magnetic resonance data of ten control subjects were also examined by DT tractography. Based on the severity of aphasia at discharge, patients were divided into two groups: six patients in the aphasic group and seven in the nonaphasic group. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and number of arcuate fasciculus fibers were evaluated. Asymmetry index was calculated for both FA and number of fibers.


FA values for the arcuate fasciculus fibers did not differ between hemispheres in either the patient groups or the controls. Number of arcuate fasciculus fibers exhibited a significant leftward asymmetry in the controls and the nonaphasic group but not in the aphasic group. Asymmetry index of number of fibers was significantly lower (rightward) in the aphasic group than in the nonaphasic (P = 0.015) and control (P = 0.005) groups. Loss of leftward asymmetry in number of AF fibers predicted aphasia at discharge with a sensitivity of 0.83 and specificity of 0.86.


Asymmetry of arcuate fasciculus fibers by DT tractography may deserve to be assessed in acute infarction for predicting the fate of vascular aphasia.

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