A shift of language function to the right side of the brain hampers some
stroke survivors from recovering their ability to read, write and to say what
they mean, a new study indicates.
The inability to do these things is called aphasia, and is caused by damage
to the parts of the brain that control language.
How the study was done
The study included 27 right-handed adults who survived a stroke in the left
side of their brain. Those who recovered from aphasia showed a return to normal
patterns of having language function on the left side of the brain, according to
the findings in the current issue of the journal Restorative Neurology and
"Overall, approximately 30% of patients with stroke suffer from various types
of aphasia, with this deficit most common in stroke with left middle cerebral
artery territory damage," lead investigator Dr Jerzy Szaflarski, of the
departments of neurology at the University of Alabama and University of
Cincinnati Academic Health Center, said.
"Some of the affected patients recover to a certain degree in the months and
years following the stroke. The recovery process is [affected] by several known
factors, but the degree of the contribution of brain areas unaffected by stroke
to the recovery process is less clear," Szaflarski explained.
The findings provide new insight and may help lead to improved language
rehabilitation methods for stroke survivors, according to the researchers.
The study authors noted that a shift of language function to the right side
of the brain can help aphasia recovery in children who have suffered a
left-hemisphere injury or stroke. But this type of shift in adults may hamper
recovery, because they rely on the left side of brain for maintaining and
recovering language ability.
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about
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