Cerebral reorganization as a function of linguistic recovery in children: An fMRI study

Odelia Elkana, Ram Frost, Uri Kramer, Dafna Ben-Bashat, Talma Hendler, David Schmidt, Avraham Schweiger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Characterizing and mapping the relationship between neuronal reorganization and functional recovery are essential to the understanding of cerebral plasticity and the dynamic processes which occur following brain damage. The neuronal mechanisms underlying linguistic recovery following left hemisphere (LH) lesions are still unknown. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we investigated whether the extent of brain lateralization of linguistic functioning in specific regions of interest (ROIs) is correlated with the level of linguistic performance following recovery from acquired childhood aphasia. The study focused on a rare group of children in whom lesions occurred after normal language acquisition, but prior to complete maturation of the brain. During fMRI scanning, rhyming, comprehension and verb generation activation tasks were monitored. The imaging data were evaluated with reference to linguistic performance measured behaviorally during imaging, as well as outside the scanner. Compared with normal controls, we found greater right hemisphere (RH) lateralization in patients. However, correlations with linguistic performance showed that increased proficiency in linguistic tasks was associated with greater lateralization to the LH. These results were replicated in a longitudinal case study of a patient scanned twice, 3 years apart. Additional improvement in linguistic performance of the patient was accompanied by increasing lateralization to the LH in the anterior language region. This, however, was the result of a decreased involvement of the RH. These findings suggest that recovery is a dynamic, ongoing process, which may last for years after onset. The role of each hemisphere in the recovery process may continuously change within the chronic stage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-216
Number of pages15
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation1173/05


    • Aphasia
    • Functional MRI
    • Language recovery
    • Recovery of function
    • Reorganization


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