Our understanding of post-stroke language function is largely based on older age groups, who show increasing age-related brain pathology and neural reorganisation. To illustrate language outcomes in the young-adult brain, we present the case of J., a 23 y.o. woman with chronic aphasia from a left-hemisphere stroke affecting the temporal lobe. Diffusion MRI-based tractography indicated that J.’s language-relevant white matter structures were severely damaged. Employing magnetoencephalography (MEG), we explored J.’s conceptual preparation and word planning abilities using context-driven and bare picture-naming tasks. These revealed 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 disrupted lexical-semantic and phonological retrieval abilities. MEG revealed that J.’s conceptual and naming-related neural responses were supported by the right hemisphere, compared to the typical left-lateralised brain response of a matched control. Differential recruitment of right-hemisphere structures (330-440 ms post-picture onset) was found concurrently during successful naming (right mid-to-posterior temporal lobe) and word-finding attempts (right inferior frontal gyrus). Disconnection of the temporal lobes via corpus callosum was not critical for recruitment of the right hemisphere in visually-guided naming, possibly due to neural activity right-lateralising from the outset. Although J.’s right hemisphere responded in a timely manner during word planning, its lexical and phonological retrieval abilities remained modest.
|Neuropsychologia, special issue on single cases||Rejection after review||Methodological issues, potential alternative interpretations|