Left brain language function is linked to better post-stroke recovery from aphasia, researchers find

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After a stroke, adults rely on their left hemisphere to preserve language function or recovery, new research suggests. This discovery could open up new rehabilitation strategies, researchers say.

The study involved 27 adults who experienced a left middle cerebral artery infarction at least one year prior to enrollment in the project. Language testing determined that nine participants had normal language ability and 18 were aphasic. MRIs and functional MRIs (fMRIs) were used to determine brain functions and stroke volume.

The researchers discovered language ability was better for those with strong left-hemispheric fMRI signals. This suggests adults and children recover from strokes differently. Among juveniles who have had left-hemisphere strokes, language can improve if the right hemisphere compensates to take on additional language functions.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama and the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center. It appears in the journal Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.

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