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Neurology. 2015 Jul 21;85(3):284-92. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001765. Epub 2015 Jun 26.

Neuroanatomical foundations of naming impairments across different neurologic conditions.

Author information

1
From the Department of Neurology (E.G., L.B.), Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston; and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (J.F.), University of South Carolina, Columbia.
2
From the Department of Neurology (E.G., L.B.), Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston; and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (J.F.), University of South Carolina, Columbia. bonilha@musc.edu.

Abstract

The ability to name objects or abstract entities is an essential feature of speech and language, being commonly considered a central component of normal neurologic function. For this reason, the bedside testing of naming performance is part of the neurologic examination, especially since naming impairments can signify the early onset of a progressive disease or the occurrence of a more established problem. Modern neuroscience research suggests that naming relies on specific and distributed networks that operate in concert to support various processing stages, spanning from object recognition to spoken words. Likewise, studies evaluating the types of naming impairments in patients with neurologic conditions have contributed to the understanding of acquired forms of naming impairments and the underlying stages during normal language processing. In this article, we review the neurobiological mechanisms supporting naming, with a focus on the clinical application of these concepts. We provide an overview of the stages of cognitive processing that are hypothesized to support naming. For each stage, we explore the evidence revealing its neural basis, drawing parallels to clinical syndromes that commonly disrupt each stage. We review the patterns of naming impairment across various neurologic conditions, including classic language disorders, such as poststroke aphasia or primary progressive aphasia, as well as other diseases where language impairments may be subtle but helpful for the appropriate diagnosis. In this context, we provide a structured and practical guide for the bedside naming assessments rooted in modern neuroscience, aimed at supporting the evaluation and diagnosis of neurologic conditions that affect language.

PMID:
26115732
PMCID:
PMC4516297
DOI:
10.1212/WNL.0000000000001765
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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