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Brain Lang. 2010 Aug;114(2):135-46. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2009.09.001. Epub 2009 Oct 9.

The functional organization of trial-related activity in lexical processing after early left hemispheric brain lesions: An event-related fMRI study.

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Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, 97239, United States.


Children with congenital left hemisphere damage due to perinatal stroke are capable of acquiring relatively normal language functions despite experiencing a cortical insult that in adults often leads to devastating lifetime disabilities. Although this observed phenomenon is accepted, its neurobiological mechanisms are not well characterized. In this paper we examined the functional neuroanatomy of lexical processing in 13 children/adolescents with perinatal left hemispheric damage. In contrast to many previous perinatal infarct fMRI studies, we used an event-related design, which allowed us to isolate trial-related activity and examine correct and error trials separately. Using both group and single subject analysis techniques we attempt to address several methodological factors that may contribute to some discrepancies in the perinatal lesion literature. These methodological factors include making direct statistical comparisons, using common stereotactic space, using both single subject and group analyses, and accounting for performance differences. Our group analysis, investigating correct trial-related activity (separately from error trials), showed very few statistical differences in the non-involved right hemisphere between patients and performance matched controls. The single subject analysis revealed atypical regional activation patterns in several patients; however, the location of these regions identified in individual patients often varied across subjects. These results are consistent with the idea that alternative functional organization of trial-related activity after left hemisphere lesions is in large part unique to the individual. In addition, reported differences between results obtained with event-related designs and blocked designs may suggest diverging organizing principles for sustained and trial-related activity after early childhood brain injuries.

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