Right-hemisphere compensation during word production: A single case of left-hemisphere young stroke


Our understanding of post-stroke language recovery and underlying neuroplasticity is largely based on older age groups, who have increasing brain pathology and potentially more bilateral language functioning. We present the case of A., a 23 y.o. woman with chronic aphasia from a left-hemisphere stroke. Deterministic tractography indicated that A.’s language-relevant white matter structures were severely damaged. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), we explored A.’s conceptual preparation and subsequent word planning abilities. Context-driven and Bare picture-naming tasks revealed substantial naming deficits, manifesting as word-finding difficulties and semantic paraphasias about half of the time. Naming was however facilitated by semantically constraining lead-in sentences. Altogether, this pattern indicates intact conceptual preparation but disrupted lexical and phonological retrieval abilities. MEG revealed that A.’s naming-related neural responses differed from that of a matched control. Source localisation showed active but differential recruitment of right-hemisphere structures (300-400 ms post-picture onset) during both correct naming (right temporo-parietal regions) and anomic (right inferior frontal gyrus) attempts. We consider that, despite A.’s young age, the presumed strong degree of language lateralisation and extensive structural damage limited her recovery. Although A.’s right hemisphere responded in a timely manner during word planning, its lexical and phonological retrieval abilities remained modest.

In: PsyArXiv
Irina Chupina
Irina Chupina
PhD candidate
Anna Dewenter
Former Master’s student, current collaborator