Task-dependent changes in brain activation following therapy for nonfluent aphasia: Discussion of two individual cases

Leora R. Cherney, Steven L. Small

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


The complex process of cortical reorganization of language-related brain regions during recovery from aphasia and the effects of therapeutic interventions on brain systems are poorly understood. We studied two patients with chronic aphasia and compared their functional neuroanatomical responses to a younger control group on two tasks, an oral-reading task involving overt speech and a "passive" audiovisual story-comprehension task. Following identical therapy, we re-examined behavioral (language) and functional neuroanatomical changes using the same functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tasks. We hypothesized that better recovery would be associated with brain activation patterns more closely resembling healthy controls, whereas positive responses to language treatment would be associated with increased activity in undamaged left perisylvian areas and/or right-hemisphere areas homologous to the damaged regions. For the participant with a frontal lesion who was most responsive to therapy, brain activation increased in the right hemisphere during oral-reading, but decreased bilaterally in most regions on story-comprehension. The other participant with a temporal - parietal lesion showed decreased activation, particularly in the right hemisphere, during oral-reading but increased activation bilaterally on story-comprehension. Results highlight individual variability following language therapy, with brain activation changes depending on lesion site and size, language skill, type of intervention, and the nature of the fMRI task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)828-842
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Aphasia
  • Language therapy
  • Neuroimaging
  • Recovery
  • Rehabilitation
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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