Language neuroplasticity in brain tumour patients revealed by magnetoencephalography


Language impairment in brain tumour patients may be missed since standardised tests fail to capture mild deficits. Neuroplasticity may also contribute to minimising language impairments. To address this possibility, we examined 14 patients with language dominant hemipsheric brain tumours prior to their first surgery using magnetoencephalography (MEG) imaging while they performed a demanding picture-word interference task. During picture-word interference, participants name pictures while ignoring distractor words. Brain tumour patients had the behavioural picture naming effects typically observed in healthy controls. By contrast, the MEG event-related effect had a right hemisphere source, in contrast to the classic left hemisphere source found in healthy individuals. This finding supports tumour induced neural reorganisation of language prior to surgery. We also identified one participant with a lesion affecting the left temporal lobe and underlying white-matter tracts who showed a deviant pattern in behaviour as well as in the MEG event-related responses. Our results provide support for neuroplasticity of language in brain tumours in the pre-surgical phase.

In: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 32 (8), 1497-1507

Rejection history:

Journal Outcome Reason
Brain Desk rejected Mere extension of previous evidence on brain reorganisation for language in brain tumour patients. There is insufficient conceptual advance.

Joanna Sierpowska
Former post-doc; current collaborator