Chapter 11 A SPECT study of language and brain reorganization three years after pediatric brain injury

Stephanie B. Chiu Wong, Sandra B. Chapman, Lois G. Cook, Raksha Anand, Jacquelyn F. Gamino, Michael D. Devous

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), we investigated brain plasticity in children 3 years after sustaining a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). First, we assessed brain perfusion patterns (i.e., the extent of brain blood flow to regions of the brain) at rest in eight children who suffered severe TBI as compared to perfusion patterns in eight normally developing children. Second, we examined differences in perfusion between children with severe TBI who showed good versus poor recovery in complex discourse skills. Specifically, the children were asked to produce and abstract core meaning for two stories in the form of a lesson. Inconsistent with our predictions, children with severe TBI showed areas of increased perfusion as compared to normally developing controls. Adult studies have shown the reverse pattern with TBI associated with reduced perfusion. With regard to the second aim and consistent with previously identified brain-discourse relations, we found a strong positive association between perfusion in right frontal regions and discourse abstraction abilities, with higher perfusion linked to better discourse outcomes and lower perfusion linked to poorer discourse outcomes. Furthermore, brain-discourse patterns of increased perfusion in left frontal regions were associated with lower discourse abstraction ability. The results are discussed in terms of how brain changes may represent adaptive and maladaptive plasticity. The findings offer direction for future studies of brain plasticity in response to neurocognitive treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-185,393-394
JournalProgress in Brain Research
StatePublished - 2006


  • brain injury
  • children
  • cognition
  • functional brain imaging
  • language
  • plasticity
  • recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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