Blog Archives

Clinical effects of insular damage in humans

Multiple disturbances following lesions of the insula are reviewed in the present article, including those related to autonomic function; gustatory, olfactory, auditory, somatosensory, and multimodal perception, as well as body awareness; the emotion of disgust; mood and willed action, addiction behavior, and language. Given the multiple and varied nature of the impairments revealed by lesion studies, we suggest that the insula, as a multimodal area, has a major role as a convergence zone implicated in the coordination between internal and external information through emotional subjective awareness. Methodological issues are discussed with attention paid to lesion etiology, and lesions involving adjacent areas to the insular cortex.

from Brain Structure and Function

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

Abstract
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.

from Brain and Language

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

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.

from Brain and Language

The anterior temporal lobes and the functional architecture of semantic memory

Recently, three accounts have emerged on the role of the anterior temporal lobes (ATLs) in semantic memory. One account claims that the ATLs are domain-general semantic hubs, another claims that they underlie knowledge of unique entities specifically, and yet another account claims that they support social conceptual knowledge generally. Here, we review neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies that bear on these three accounts and offer suggestions for future research to elucidate the roles of the ATLs in semantic memory. (JINS, 2009, 15, 645–649.)

from

The left temporal pole is important for retrieving words for unique concrete entities *

Conclusions: We have interpreted these results within a theoretical framework which suggests that left TP contains convergence regions that operate as intermediaries between conceptual knowledge retrieval and lexical retrieval for classes of unique concrete entities.

from Aphasiology

The left temporal pole is important for retrieving words for unique concrete entities

Conclusions: We have interpreted these results within a theoretical framework which suggests that left TP contains convergence regions that operate as intermediaries between conceptual knowledge retrieval and lexical retrieval for classes of unique concrete entities.

from Aphasiology

Visuoperceptual deficits in letter-by-letter reading?

Abstract
A longstanding and controversial issue concerns the underlying mechanisms that give rise to letter-by-letter (LBL) reading: while some researchers propose a prelexical, perceptual basis for the disorder, others postulate a postlexical, linguistic source for the problem. To examine the nature of the deficit underlying LBL reading, in three experiments, we compare the performance of seven LBL readers, matched control participants and one brain-damaged patient, OL, with no reading impairment. Experiment 1 revealed that the LBL patients were impaired, relative to the controls and to OL, on a same/different matching task using checkerboards of black and white squares. Given that the perceptual impairment extends beyond abnormalities with alphanumeric stimuli, the findings are suggestive of a more general visual processing deficit. This interpretation was confirmed in Experiments 2 (matching words and symbol strings) and 3 (visual search of letter and symbol targets), which compared the processing of linguistic and non-linguistic written stimuli, matched for visual complexity. In both experiments, the LBL patients displayed qualitatively similar effects of length and left-to-right sequential ordering on linguistic and non-linguistic stimuli. Moreover, there was a clear association between the perceptual impairments on these tasks and the slope of the reading latency function for the LBL patients. Taken together, these findings are consistent with a significant visuoperceptual impairment in LBL that adversely affects reading performance as well as performance on other non-reading tasks.

from Neuropsychology

Broca’s area: Nomenclature, anatomy, typology and asymmetry

In this review, we (i) describe the nomenclature of Broca’s area and show how the circumscribed definition of Broca’s area is disassociated from Broca’s aphasia, (ii) describe in detail how the gross anatomy of Broca’s area varies between people, and how the definitions vary between studies, (iii) attempt to reconcile the findings of structural asymmetry of Broca’s area with the differences in methodological approaches, (iv) consider the functional significance of cytoarchitectonic definitions of Broca’s area, and (v) critically elucidate the significance of circumscribed regions of cortex for language lateralisation and language development. Contrary to what has previously been reported in the literature, asymmetry of Broca’s area has not been reproducibly demonstrated, particularly on a gross morphological level. This may be due to major inconsistencies in methodology (including different anatomical boundaries, measurement techniques and samples studied) or that the sulcal contours defining Broca’s area are so naturally variable between people making a standard definition difficult. Cytoarchitectonic analyses more often than not report leftward asymmetry of some component of area 44 and/or area 45. If a structural asymmetry of Broca’s area does exist, it is variable, which differs from that of the functional asymmetry of language, which is more consistent. One reason for this might be that the link between cellular architecture, connectivity and language function still remains to be elucidated. There is currently no convincing explanation to associate asymmetry of Broca’s area with the lateralisation of language.

from Brain and Language

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