Blog Archives

Corpus Callosum Differences associated with Persistent Stuttering in Adults

Recent studies have implicated anatomical differences in speech-relevant brain regions of adults who stutter (AWS) compared to normally fluent adults (NFA). The present study focused on the region of the corpus callosum (CC) which is involved in interhemispheric processing between the left and right cerebral hemispheres. Two-dimensional segmentation of area and voxel based morphometry were used to evaluate the corpus callosum. Results revealed that the rostrum and anterior midbody of the CC was larger in AWS than NFA. In addition, the overall callosa area was larger in AWS than NFA. The group comparison of white matter volume showed a cluster of increased white matter volume predominantly encompassing the rostrum across the midline portion in AWS. These results potentially reflect anatomical changes associated with differences in the hemispheric distribution of language processes that has been reported previously in AWS.

from the Journal of Communication Disorders

Advertisements

Semantic dementia and persisting Wernicke’s aphasia: Linguistic and anatomical profiles

Few studies have directly compared the clinical and anatomical characteristics of patients with progressive aphasia to those of patients with aphasia caused by stroke. In the current study we examined fluent forms of aphasia in these two groups, specifically semantic dementia (SD) and persisting Wernicke’s aphasia (WA) due to stroke. We compared 10 patients with SD to 10 age- and education-matched patients with WA in three language domains: language comprehension (single words and sentences), spontaneous speech and visual semantics. Neuroanatomical involvement was analyzed using disease-specific image analysis techniques: voxel-based morphometry (VBM) for patients with SD and overlays of lesion digitized lesion reconstructions in patients with WA. Patients with SD and WA were both impaired on tasks that involved visual semantics, but patients with SD were less impaired in spontaneous speech and sentence comprehension. The anatomical findings showed that different regions were most affected in the two disorders: the left anterior temporal lobe in SD and the left posterior middle temporal gyrus in chronic WA. This study highlights that the two syndromes classically associated with language comprehension deficits in aphasia due to stroke and neurodegenerative disease are clinically distinct, most likely due to distinct distributions of damage in the temporal lobe.

from Brain and Language

Semantic dementia and persisting Wernicke’s aphasia: Linguistic and anatomical profiles

Few studies have directly compared the clinical and anatomical characteristics of patients with progressive aphasia to those of patients with aphasia caused by stroke. In the current study we examined fluent forms of aphasia in these two groups, specifically semantic dementia (SD) and persisting Wernicke’s aphasia (WA) due to stroke. We compared 10 patients with SD to 10 age- and education-matched patients with WA in three language domains: language comprehension (single words and sentences), spontaneous speech and visual semantics. Neuroanatomical involvement was analyzed using disease-specific image analysis techniques: voxel-based morphometry (VBM) for patients with SD and overlays of lesion digitized lesion reconstructions in patients with WA. Patients with SD and WA were both impaired on tasks that involved visual semantics, but patients with SD were less impaired in spontaneous speech and sentence comprehension. The anatomical findings showed that different regions were most affected in the two disorders: the left anterior temporal lobe in SD and the left posterior middle temporal gyrus in chronic WA. This study highlights that the two syndromes classically associated with language comprehension deficits in aphasia due to stroke and neurodegenerative disease are clinically distinct, most likely due to distinct distributions of damage in the temporal lobe.

from Brain and Language

Semantic dementia and persisting Wernicke’s aphasia: Linguistic and anatomical profiles

Few studies have directly compared the clinical and anatomical characteristics of patients with progressive aphasia to those of patients with aphasia caused by stroke. In the current study we examined fluent forms of aphasia in these two groups, specifically semantic dementia (SD) and persisting Wernicke’s aphasia (WA) due to stroke. We compared 10 patients with SD to 10 age- and education-matched patients with WA in three language domains: language comprehension (single words and sentences), spontaneous speech and visual semantics. Neuroanatomical involvement was analyzed using disease-specific image analysis techniques: voxel-based morphometry (VBM) for patients with SD and overlays of lesion digitized lesion reconstructions in patients with WA. Patients with SD and WA were both impaired on tasks that involved visual semantics, but patients with SD were less impaired in spontaneous speech and sentence comprehension. The anatomical findings showed that different regions were most affected in the two disorders: the left anterior temporal lobe in SD and the left posterior middle temporal gyrus in chronic WA. This study highlights that the two syndromes classically associated with language comprehension deficits in aphasia due to stroke and neurodegenerative disease are clinically distinct, most likely due to distinct distributions of damage in the temporal lobe.<p><p>from <a href=”Brain” _mce_href=”http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WC0-526MY1W-1&_user=108452&_coverDate=02%2F18%2F2011&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_origin=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000059732&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=108452&md5=002ddc5a09de2364a6fdd719d92c8128&searchtype=a”>null”>http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WC0-526MY1W-1&_user=108452&_coverDate=02%2F18%2F2011&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_origin=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000059732&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=108452&md5=002ddc5a09de2364a6fdd719d92c8128&searchtype=a”><em>Brain and Language</em></a></p>

Morphological Cerebral Correlatesof CERAD Test Performance in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease

The objective of this study was to investigate the associations between structural cerebral changes and neuropsychological deficits in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Sixty patients with MCI, 34 patients with mild to moderate AD, and 32 healthy controls underwent both extensive neuropsychological assessment (CERAD test battery) and high-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging. We used optimized voxel based morphometry to investigate (i) differences in gray matter density between the three aforementioned groups and (ii) the putative relations of CERAD test performance with atrophic brain changes. When compared to the healthy controls, the AD patients and, to a lesser extent, patients with MCI showed significant density losses predominantly in the medial temporal lobe. Deficits in verbal fluency and word finding were significantly correlated with left fronto-temporal and left temporal (including the hippocampus) changes, respectively. Decreased scores in immediate and delayed recall and in delayed recognition were associated with several cortical and subcortical sites including the parahippocampal and posterior cinguli gyri, the right thalamus, and the right hippocampus, whereas deficits in constructional praxis and constructional praxis recall referred to sites in the left thalamus and cerebellum, and the temporal cortices (bilaterally), respectively. Our findings lend further support for medial temporal lobe degeneration in MCI and AD and demonstrate that cognitive deficits as assessed on the CERAD do not simply refer to specific changes in discrete cerebral sites but rather reflect morphological alterations in widespread networks.

from the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

Neuroanatomical changes due to hearing loss and chronic tinnitus: A combined VBM and DTI study

Subjective tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of an external source. Tinnitus is often accompanied by hearing loss but not everyone with hearing loss experiences tinnitus. We examined neuroanatomical alterations associated with hearing loss and tinnitus in three groups of subjects: those with hearing loss with tinnitus, those with hearing loss without tinnitus and normal hearing controls without tinnitus. To examine changes in gray matter we used structural MRI scans and voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and to identify changes in white matter tract orientation we used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). A major finding of our study was that there were both gray and white matter changes in the vicinity of the auditory cortex for subjects with hearing loss alone relative to those with tinnitus and those with normal hearing. We did not find significant changes in gray or white matter in subjects with tinnitus and hearing loss compared to normal hearing controls. VBM analysis revealed that individuals with hearing loss without tinnitus had gray matter decreases in anterior cingulate and superior and medial frontal gyri relative to those with hearing loss and tinnitus. Region-of-interest analysis revealed additional decreases in superior temporal gyrus for the hearing loss group compared to the tinnitus group. Investigating effects of hearing loss alone, we found gray matter decreases in superior and medial frontal gyri in participants with hearing loss compared to normal hearing controls. DTI analysis showed decreases in fractional anisotropy values in the right superior and inferior longitudinal fasciculi, corticospnial tract, inferior fronto-occipital tract, superior occipital fasciculus, and anterior thalamic radiation for the hearing loss group relative to normal hearing controls. In attempting to dissociate the effect of tinnitus from hearing loss, we observed that hearing loss rather than tinnitus had the greatest influence on gray and white matter alterations.

from Brain Research

Gray matter correlates of set-shifting among neurodegenerative disease, mild cognitive impairment, and healthy older adults

There is increasing recognition that set-shifting, a form of cognitive control, is mediated by different neural structures. However, these regions have not yet been carefully identified as many studies do not account for the influence of component processes (e.g., motor speed). We investigated gray matter correlates of set-shifting while controlling for component processes. Using the Design Fluency (DF), Trail Making Test (TMT), and Color Word Interference (CWI) subtests from the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS), we investigated the correlation between set-shifting performance and gray matter volume in 160 subjects with neurodegenerative disease, mild cognitive impairment, and healthy older adults using voxel-based morphometry. All three set-shifting tasks correlated with multiple, widespread gray matter regions. After controlling for the component processes, set-shifting performance correlated with focal regions in prefrontal and posterior parietal cortices. We also identified bilateral prefrontal cortex and the right posterior parietal lobe as common sites for set-shifting across the three tasks. There was a high degree of multicollinearity between the set-shifting conditions and the component processes of TMT and CWI, suggesting DF may better isolate set-shifting regions. Overall, these findings highlight the neuroanatomical correlates of set-shifting and the importance of controlling for component processes when investigating complex cognitive tasks. (JINS, 2010, 16, 640–650.)

from the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Language networks in semantic dementia

Cognitive deficits in semantic dementia have been attributed to anterior temporal lobe grey matter damage; however, key aspects of the syndrome could be due to altered anatomical connectivity between language pathways involving the temporal lobe. The aim of this study was to investigate the left language-related cerebral pathways in semantic dementia using diffusion tensor imaging-based tractography and to combine the findings with cortical anatomical and functional magnetic resonance imaging data obtained during a reading activation task. The left inferior longitudinal fasciculus, arcuate fasciculus and fronto-parietal superior longitudinal fasciculus were tracked in five semantic dementia patients and eight healthy controls. The left uncinate fasciculus and the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum were also obtained for comparison with previous studies. From each tract, mean diffusivity, fractional anisotropy, as well as parallel and transverse diffusivities were obtained. Diffusion tensor imaging results were related to grey and white matter atrophy volume assessed by voxel-based morphometry and functional magnetic resonance imaging activations during a reading task. Semantic dementia patients had significantly higher mean diffusivity, parallel and transverse in the inferior longitudinal fasciculus. The arcuate and uncinate fasciculi demonstrated significantly higher mean diffusivity, parallel and transverse and significantly lower fractional anisotropy. The fronto-parietal superior longitudinal fasciculus was relatively spared, with a significant difference observed for transverse diffusivity and fractional anisotropy, only. In the corpus callosum, the genu showed lower fractional anisotropy compared with controls, while no difference was found in the splenium. The left parietal cortex did not show significant volume changes on voxel-based morphometry and demonstrated normal functional magnetic resonance imaging activation in response to reading items that stress sublexical phonological processing. This study shows that semantic dementia is associated with anatomical damage to the major superior and inferior temporal white matter connections of the left hemisphere likely involved in semantic and lexical processes, with relative sparing of the fronto-parietal superior longitudinal fasciculus. Fronto-parietal regions connected by this tract were activated normally in the same patients during sublexical reading. These findings contribute to our understanding of the anatomical changes that occur in semantic dementia, and may further help to explain the dissociation between marked single-word and object knowledge deficits, but sparing of phonology and fluency in semantic dementia.

from Brain

Neuroanatomical differences in brain areas implicated in perceptual and other core features of autism revealed by cortical thickness analysis and voxel-based morphometry

Autism spectrum disorder is a complex neurodevelopmental variant thought to affect 1 in 166 [Fombonne ([2003]): J Autism Dev Disord 33:365-382]. Individuals with autism demonstrate atypical social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviors, but can also present enhanced abilities, particularly in auditory and visual perception and nonverbal reasoning. Structural brain differences have been reported in autism, in terms of increased total brain volume (particularly in young children with autism), and regional gray/white matter differences in both adults and children with autism, but the reports are inconsistent [Amaral et al. (2008): Trends Neurosci 31:137-145]. These inconsistencies may be due to differences in diagnostic/inclusion criteria, and age and Intelligence Quotient of participants. Here, for the first time, we used two complementary magnetic resonance imaging techniques, cortical thickness analyses, and voxel-based morphometry (VBM), to investigate the neuroanatomical differences between a homogenous group of young adults with autism of average intelligence but delayed or atypical language development (often referred to as high-functioning autism), relative to a closely matched group of typically developing controls. The cortical thickness and VBM techniques both revealed regional structural brain differences (mostly in terms of gray matter increases) in brain areas implicated in social cognition, communication, and repetitive behaviors, and thus in each of the core atypical features of autism. Gray matter increases were also found in auditory and visual primary and associative perceptual areas. We interpret these results as the first structural brain correlates of atypical auditory and visual perception in autism, in support of the enhanced perceptual functioning model [Mottron et al. (2006): J Autism Dev Disord 36:27-43]. Hum Brain Mapp, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

from Human Brain Mapping

The neural basis of surface dyslexia in semantic dementia

Semantic dementia (SD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by atrophy of anterior temporal regions and progressive loss of semantic memory. SD patients often present with surface dyslexia, a relatively selective impairment in reading low-frequency words with exceptional or atypical spelling-to-sound correspondences. Exception words are typically ‘over-regularized’ in SD and pronounced as they are spelled (e.g. ‘sew’ is pronounced as ‘sue’). This suggests that in the absence of sufficient item-specific knowledge, exception words are read by relying mainly on subword processes for regular mapping of orthography to phonology. In this study, we investigated the functional anatomy of surface dyslexia in SD using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and studied its relationship to structural damage with voxel-based morphometry (VBM). Five SD patients and nine healthy age-matched controls were scanned while they read regular words, exception words and pseudowords in an event-related design. Vocal responses were recorded and revealed that all patients were impaired in reading low-frequency exception words, and made frequent over-regularization errors. Consistent with prior studies, fMRI data revealed that both groups activated a similar basic network of bilateral occipital, motor and premotor regions for reading single words. VBM showed that these regions were not significantly atrophied in SD. In control subjects, a region in the left intraparietal sulcus was activated for reading pseudowords and low-frequency regular words but not exception words, suggesting a role for this area in subword mapping from orthographic to phonological representations. In SD patients only, this inferior parietal region, which was not atrophied, was also activated by reading low-frequency exception words, especially on trials where over-regularization errors occurred. These results suggest that the left intraparietal sulcus is involved in subword reading processes that are differentially recruited in SD when word-specific information is lost. This loss is likely related to degeneration of the anterior temporal lobe, which was severely atrophied in SD. Consistent with this, left mid-fusiform and superior temporal regions that showed reading-related activations in controls were not activated in SD. Taken together, these results suggest that the left inferior parietal region subserves subword orthographic-to-phonological processes that are recruited for exception word reading when retrieval of exceptional, item-specific word forms is impaired by degeneration of the anterior temporal lobe.

from Brain