Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Carnegie Mellon, Pitt Team Show That Adult Brains Compensate For Damage To Language Systems After Stroke Occurs

Date:
April 21, 1999
Source:
Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
A team of brain scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh has found spontaneous reorganization of cognitive function immediately following brain damage caused by stroke.

PITTSBURGH-- A team of brain scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh has found spontaneous reorganization of cognitive function immediately following brain damage caused by stroke.

The findings, which appear in the journal Stroke this month, are based on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans showing that brain function associated with language shifted away from the stroke-damaged area of the adult brain to the corresponding area on the undamaged side of the brain. The findings show the "healing" that happens after a stroke occurs at a high level of organization, demonstrating the plasticity of the human brain long into adulthood. Such plasticity was routinely credited to the brain in the first few years of life.

The research team consists of Dr. Keith Thulborn of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and Marcel Just and Patricia Carpenter, co-directors of the Carnegie Mellon's Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging and professors of psychology.

"The new findings demonstrate extremely rapid adaptation in adult patients," said Just. "While no one looks forward to a stroke, there is some comfort in knowing that we all carry around a set of thinking spare parts that know how to install themselves if the need arises."

The results also indicate the organizational flexibility of the cortical systems that underlie higher level thinking processes. The researchers say this knowledge may be useful in designing future rehabilitation strategies that can exploit the flexibility.

Using non-invasive fMRI, the team looked at the brains of two stroke patients, 34 and 45 years old, as they read and indicated their comprehension of normal English sentences. Very soon after stroke, the cortical areas on the right sides of their brains, the right-hand homologues of Broca's area or of Wernick's area, showed increasing activation during the sentence comprehension, at about the same time as the patients' ability to process language was coming back to them.

In healthy brains, language functions are carried out by a network of mirror image brain areas in the left and right side of the brain, with one side, usually the left, being dominant. The subordinate side, usually the right, may spend most of its lifetime playing an understudy role, as well as developing its own specializations.

But if a stroke or some other neurological damage disables one of the network components on the dominant side, the corresponding left side component rapidly and spontaneously emerges from its understudy role, and starts to activate to a normally high level during language processing.

The rapid recovery of the ability to use language after stroke damage to the language network was previously attributed to tissue healing functions, like reduction of swelling in the brain.

Researchers say the new results show that part of the recovery is due to the brain function reorganization, a re-balancing of the network, like the cast of a play adjusting to the loss of a key actor. The adjustment can begin within a day or two after the stroke, and can continue for many months.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Carnegie Mellon University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Carnegie Mellon University. "Carnegie Mellon, Pitt Team Show That Adult Brains Compensate For Damage To Language Systems After Stroke Occurs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990421073945.htm>.
Carnegie Mellon University. (1999, April 21). Carnegie Mellon, Pitt Team Show That Adult Brains Compensate For Damage To Language Systems After Stroke Occurs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990421073945.htm
Carnegie Mellon University. "Carnegie Mellon, Pitt Team Show That Adult Brains Compensate For Damage To Language Systems After Stroke Occurs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990421073945.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) A study for University College London suggests obese people who are discriminated against gain more weight than those who are not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins