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Concept: Nominal aphasia

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BACKGROUND: In the last decade transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) have been introduced in aphasia post-stroke recovery as a tool for modulating neuroplasticity. However, it is still unclear whether tDCS should be applied at rest (off-line) or combined with behavioural treatment strategies (on-line), therefore, this study investigates the effect of repeated sessions of off-line tDCS on language recovery in post-stroke chronic aphasic patients. METHODOLOGY: Eight post-stroke patients with different type and degree of chronic aphasia underwent two weeks of off-line anodal tDCS (2mA intensity for 20minutes a day) on Broca’s area and two weeks of sham stimulation as a control condition. Language recovery was measured assessing object and action naming abilities with a computerized picture naming task. RESULTS: No significant difference between anodal tDCS and sham stimulation, both for object and action naming tasks, was found. Descriptive analysis of single cases showed that after tDCS only one patient improved substantially on action naming task. CONCLUSION: With the exception of one patient, the overall results suggest that in chronic aphasic patients the off-line tDCS protocol applied in this study is not effective in improving noun and verb naming abilities.

Concepts: Wernicke's area, Language, Noun, Transcranial direct current stimulation, Aphasia, Broca's area, Conduction aphasia, Nominal aphasia

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Event-related potentials (ERPs) were used to examine how individuals with aphasia and a group of age-matched controls use prosody and thematic fit information in sentences containing temporary syntactic ambiguities. Two groups of individuals with aphasia were investigated; those demonstrating relatively good sentence comprehension whose primary language difficulty is anomia (Individuals with Anomic Aphasia (IWAA)), and those who demonstrate impaired sentence comprehension whose primary diagnosis is Broca’s aphasia (Individuals with Broca’s Aphasia (IWBA). The stimuli had early closure syntactic structure and contained a temporary early closure (correct) / late closure (incorrect) syntactic ambiguity. The prosody was manipulated to either be congruent or incongruent, and the temporarily ambiguous NP was also manipulated to either be a plausible or an implausible continuation for the subordinate verb (e.g., “While the band played the song/the beer pleased all the customers.”). It was hypothesized that an implausible NP in sentences with incongruent prosody may provide the parser with a plausibility cue that could be used to predict syntactic structure. The individuals with aphasia were broken into a group of High Comprehenders and a group of Low Comprehenders depending on the severity of their sentence comprehension deficit. The results revealed that incongruent prosody paired with a plausibility cue resulted in an N400-P600 complex at the implausible NP (the beer) in both the controls and the IWAAs, yet incongruent prosody without a plausibility cue resulted in an N400-P600 at the critical verb (pleased) only in healthy controls. IWBAs did not show evidence of N400 or P600 effects at the ambiguous NP or critical verb, although they did show evidence of a delayed N400 effect at the sentence-final word in sentences with incongruent prosody. These results suggest that IWAAs have difficulty integrating prosodic cues with underlying syntactic structure when lexical-semantic information is not available to aid their parse. IWBAs have difficulty integrating both prosodic and lexical-semantic cues with syntactic structure, likely due to a processing delay.

Concepts: Verb, Syntax, Aphasia, Broca's area, Ambiguity, Parsing, Syntactic ambiguity, Nominal aphasia

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There is a lack of clarity in the field regarding how to best predict which naming treatment will be most beneficial for a particular individual with aphasia. The purpose of this study was to elucidate whether or not semantic or phonological therapy differentially impacts on outcomes for people with a range of different aphasic profiles when given both therapies. A single-participant design, with multiple repeated baselines for naming, replicated across four participants, was used. Participants were provided with a counterbalanced order of Semantic Feature Analysis (SFA) and Phonological Components Analysis (PCA) treatment. Findings demonstrated differential effects across participants. This seemed to be influenced by factors such as severity of anomia, order of treatment presentation, and capacity limits. Clinical implications of these findings highlight the importance of expanding our picture of a participant’s behaviours to consider what other important factors can inform intervention decisions.

Concepts: Greek loanwords, Phonology, Linguistics, Language, Semantics, Aphasia, Broca's area, Nominal aphasia

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Broca’s region and adjacent cortex presumably take part in working memory (WM) processes. Electrophysiologically, these processes are reflected in synchronized oscillations. We present the first study exploring the effects of a stroke causing Broca’s aphasia on these processes and specifically on synchronized functional WM networks. We used high-density EEG and coherence analysis to map WM networks in ten Broca’s patients and ten healthy controls during verbal WM task. Our results demonstrate that a stroke resulting in Broca’s aphasia also alters two distinct WM networks. These theta and gamma functional networks likely reflect the executive and the phonological processes, respectively. The striking imbalance between task-related theta synchronization and desynchronization in Broca’s patients might represent a disrupted balance between task-positive and WM-irrelevant functional networks. There is complete disintegration of left fronto-centroparietal gamma network in Broca’s patients, which could reflect the damaged phonological loop.

Concepts: Brain, Stroke, Wernicke's area, Aphasia, Broca's area, Conduction aphasia, Expressive aphasia, Nominal aphasia

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Awake surgery is currently considered the best method to tailor intraparenchymatous resections according to functional boundaries. However, the exact mechanisms by which electrical stimulation disturbs behavior remain largely unknown. In this case report, we describe a new method to explore the propagation toward cortical sites of a brief pulse applied to an eloquent white matter pathway. We present a patient, operated on in awake condition for removal of a cavernoma of the left ventral premotor cortex. At the end of the resection, the application of 60Hz stimulation in the white matter of the operculum induced anomia. Stimulating the same site at a frequency of 1Hz during 70seconds allowed to record responses on electrodes put over Broca’s area and around the inferior part of central sulcus. Axono-cortical evoked potentials were then obtained by averaging unitary responses, time-locked to the stimulus. We then discuss the origin of these evoked axono-cortical potentials and the likely pathway connecting the stimulation site to the recorded cortical sites.

Concepts: Brain, Cerebral cortex, Frontal lobe, Premotor cortex, Inferior frontal gyrus, Cerebral hemisphere, Broca's area, Nominal aphasia

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In chronic non-fluent aphasia patients, inhibition of the intact right hemisphere (RH), by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or similar methods, can induce improvement in language functions. The supposed mechanism behind this improvement is a release of preserved left hemisphere (LH) language networks from RH transcallosal inhibition. Direct stimulation of the damaged LH can sometimes bring similar results too. Therefore, we developed a novel treatment approach that combined direct LH (Broca’s area (BA)) stimulation, by intermittent theta burst stimulation (TBS), with homologue RH area’s inhibition, by continuous TBS. We present the results of application of 15 daily sessions of the described treatment approach in a right-handed patient with chronic post-stroke non-fluent aphasia. The intervention appeared to improve several language functions, but most notably propositional speech, semantic fluency, short-term verbal memory, and verbal learning. Bilateral TBS modulation of activation of the language-related areas of both hemispheres seems to be a feasible and promising way to induce recovery in chronic aphasic patients. Due to potentially cumulative physiological effects of bilateral stimulation, the improvements may be even greater than following unilateral interventions.

Concepts: Wernicke's area, Language, Transcranial magnetic stimulation, Aphasia, Broca's area, Conduction aphasia, Nominal aphasia, Paul Broca

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A high proportion of patients who have suffered a stroke also suffer from aphasia. Approximately half of those affected will remain in this state despite intensive language therapy. Non-invasive brain stimulation allows us to directly and focally stimulate areas of the brain. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation [rTMS] and transcranial direct current stimulation [tDCS], methods used in the treatment of aphasia, are based on an imbalance of mutual interhemispheric inhibition. In open and sham-controlled studies, a low-frequency, 1Hz stimulation of the non-lesioned hemisphere [the homologue of Broca’s area] for a week or more significantly improved spontaneous speech and anomia in patients with non-fluent aphasia. These positive outcomes from rTMS stimulation developed slowly, often over months following treatment, and persisted. Effects of intermittent theta burst stimulation [iTBS] developed faster than the low-frequency stimulation, and high-activity enhancement was detected in the left hemisphere after the stimulation of Broca’s region. Both types of tDCS stimulation resulted in improved comprehension and reduced anomia, Their primary modes of action are distinct, however, both share a common site of action with regard to the balance that occurs between inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters (synaptic and non-synaptic). Both types of non-invasive stimulation prepare the lesioned brain for better outcome.

Concepts: Brain, Transcranial magnetic stimulation, Neurophysiology, Transcranial direct current stimulation, Aphasia, Broca's area, Nominal aphasia

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The present study investigated hierarchical lexical semantic structure in oral descriptions of concrete word meanings produced by a subject (ZZ) diagnosed with anomic aphasia due to left occipital lesions. The focus of the analysis was production of a) nouns at different levels of semantic specificity (e.g., “robin”-“bird”-“animal”) and b) words describing sensory or motor experiences (e.g., “blue,” “soft,” “fly”). Results show that in contrast to healthy and aphasic controls, who produced words at all levels of specificity and mainly vision-related sensory information, ZZ produced almost exclusively nouns at the most non-specific levels and words associated with sound and movement.

Concepts: Greek loanwords, Linguistics, Word, Verb, Lexeme, Aphasia, Broca's area, Nominal aphasia