The right hemisphere of the brain can take over language functions when the left hemisphere is damaged early in development, according to research in four-year-old children published in eNeuro. These findings offer insight into typical language development in children and the flexibility of the brain in response to injury.
Language functions are typically localized in the left hemisphere of the brain, a distinction that is present at birth but becomes more pronounced during development. Damage to the language regions of the left hemisphere often causes speech aphasia, which does not generally happen in child stroke patients.
In order to study the flexibility of language development, Clément François and colleagues at the University of Barcelona compared the brains and language skills of healthy children with children that had a left-hemisphere stroke as infants. Using magnetic resonance imaging, the research team observed that the arcuate fasciculus, a white-matter fiber bundle that connects language-processing brain regions, had a greater volume in the right hemisphere and a lower volume in the left hemisphere in the stroke patients. Among the stroke patients, the children with the largest right volume performed best on language tests.
Manuscript title: Right Structural and Functional Reorganization in 4-Year-Old Children With Perinatal Arterial Ischemic Stroke Predict Language Production
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eNeuro, the Society for Neuroscience's open-access journal launched in 2014, publishes rigorous neuroscience research with double-blind peer review that masks the identity of both the authors and reviewers, minimizing the potential for implicit biases. eNeuro is distinguished by a broader scope and balanced perspective achieved by publishing negative results, failure to replicate or replication studies. New research, computational neuroscience, theories and methods are also published.
About The Society for Neuroscience
The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.