Right Side of Brain Can Compensate for Post-stroke Speech Loss
After a debate that has lasted more than a century, researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center have found that loss of speech from a stroke in the left hemisphere of the brain can be recovered on the back, right side of the brain. This contradicts notions that the right hemisphere interferes with recovery. The study, published in the journal Brain, analysed brain structure and grey matter volume when trying to understand how speech is recovered after a stroke. The results of the study showed that patients who have regained their voice have increased grey matter volume in the back of their right hemisphere — mirroring the location of one of the two left hemisphere speech areas. “Over the past decade, researchers have increasingly suggested that the right hemisphere interferes with good recovery of language after left hemisphere strokes,” says the study’s senior author. “Our results suggest the opposite — that right hemisphere compensation improves recovery.” The investigators found that stroke participants who had better than expected speech abilities after their stroke had more grey matter in the back of the right hemisphere compared to stroke patients with worse speech. Those areas of the right hemisphere were also larger in the stroke survivors than in the control group, which indicated growth in the brain areas that relate to better speech production post-stroke. To read more about this study, click here.
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