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Neural Plast. 2017;2017:5601509. doi: 10.1155/2017/5601509. Epub 2017 May 9.

Right Hemisphere Grey Matter Volume and Language Functions in Stroke Aphasia.

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Center for the Neurobiology of Language Recovery, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, School of Communication, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.
Department of Radiology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA.
Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing, College of Health & Rehabilitation, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Cognitive Science, Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Department of Neurology, Neurology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA.


The role of the right hemisphere (RH) in recovery from aphasia is incompletely understood. The present study quantified RH grey matter (GM) volume in individuals with chronic stroke-induced aphasia and cognitively healthy people using voxel-based morphometry. We compared group differences in GM volume in the entire RH and in RH regions-of-interest. Given that lesion site is a critical source of heterogeneity associated with poststroke language ability, we used voxel-based lesion symptom mapping (VLSM) to examine the relation between lesion site and language performance in the aphasic participants. Finally, using results derived from the VLSM as a covariate, we evaluated the relation between GM volume in the RH and language ability across domains, including comprehension and production processes both at the word and sentence levels and across spoken and written modalities. Between-subject comparisons showed that GM volume in the RH SMA was reduced in the aphasic group compared to the healthy controls. We also found that, for the aphasic group, increased RH volume in the MTG and the SMA was associated with better language comprehension and production scores, respectively. These data suggest that the RH may support functions previously performed by LH regions and have important implications for understanding poststroke reorganization.

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