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Laterality shifts in neural activation coupled to language ability
Linköping University, Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV). Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Radiology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3587-3568
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Speech and Language Pathology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Anaesthetics, Operations and Specialty Surgery Center, Department of Otorhinolaryngology in Linköping.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2208-0630
Linköping University, Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV). Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Radiological Sciences. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Center for Surgery, Orthopaedics and Cancer Treatment, Department of Radiation Physics. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Center for Diagnostics, Department of Radiology in Linköping.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8661-2232
Linköping University, Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV). Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
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2013 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The right-hemispheric homologues to Broca’s and Wernicke’s area play an important, but currently poorly understood role in language ability. In the current study, we tested 27 healthy adults for their language ability. We acquired functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data when the participants performed a sentence reading and a word fluency task. The fMRI data were used to calculate a measure of brain laterality – the laterality index – in the inferior frontal gyrus, the superior and middle temporal gyrus, and the angular gyrus. These laterality measurements were correlated with performance scores on language tasks administered prior to fMRI. We expected to see that high performance was characterized by a more efficient, i.e. decreased, neural activation pattern in typical language areas. Furthermore, we expected to see activation in additional, right-hemispheric brain regions in high performing subjects as a sign of neural adaptability.

High performance in a test measuring subtle language deficits (BeSS test) was related to increased activation in the right middle temporal gyrus when the participants were reading sentences. Thus, semantic ability correlated negatively with laterality in the temporal lobe, but not in the frontal lobe. For increased verbal fluency ability, we did observe a decreased left-hemispheric dominance in the inferior frontal gyrus when the participants were generating words. Increased task demands in the word generation task were not related to brain activation, but in the sentence reading task, the bilateral inferior frontal gyrus did exhibit an increase in activation when the sentences increased in difficulty. This result was independent of individual language ability. Increased brain activation at increased difficulty of a language task is interpreted as a sign that the brain recruits additional resources upon higher demands. The negative correlation between language ability and laterality in the in right-hemispheric middle temporal gyrus indicates a higher degree of neural adaptability in the temporal lobes of high skilled individuals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013.
Keyword [en]
Language ability, healthy adults, lateralization, fMRI, temporal lobe, inferior frontal gyrus, performance, difficulty, semantic, fluency, language
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-91044OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-91044DiVA: diva2:615922
Available from: 2013-04-12 Created: 2013-04-12 Last updated: 2015-09-22
In thesis
1. Mind your Language, All Right? Performance-dependent neural patterns of language
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mind your Language, All Right? Performance-dependent neural patterns of language
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The main aim of this dissertation was to investigate the difference in neural language patternsrelated to language ability in healthy adults. The focus lies on unraveling the contributions of theright‐hemispheric homologues to Broca’s area in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and Wernicke’s areain the posterior temporal and inferior parietal lobes. The functions of these regions are far from fullyunderstood at present. Two study populations consisting of healthy adults and a small group ofpeople with generalized epilepsy were investigated. Individual performance scores in tests oflanguage ability were correlated with brain activation obtained with functional magnetic resonanceimaging during semantic and word fluency tasks. Performance‐dependent differences were expectedin the left‐hemispheric Broca’s and Wernicke’s area and in their right‐hemispheric counterparts.

PAPER I revealed a shift in laterality towards right‐hemispheric IFG and posterior temporal lobeactivation, related to high semantic performance. The whole‐brain analysis results of PAPER IIrevealed numerous candidate regions for language ability modulation. PAPER II also confirmed thefinding of PAPER I, by showing several performance‐dependent regions in the right‐hemispheric IFGand the posterior temporal lobe.

In PAPER III, a new study population of healthy adults was tested.Again, the right posterior temporal lobe was related to high semantic performance. A decrease in lefthemisphericIFG activation could be linked to high word fluency ability. In addition, task difficultywas modulated. Increased task complexity showed to correlate positively with bilateral IFGactivation.

Lastly, PAPER IV investigated anti‐correlated regions. These regions are commonly knownas the default mode network (DMN) and are normally suppressed during cognitive tasks. It wasfound that people with generalized epilepsy had an inadequate suppression of regions in the DMN,and showed poorer performance in a complex language test. The results point to neural adaptabilityin the IFG and temporal lobe. Decreased left‐lateralization of the IFG and increased rightlateralizationof the posterior temporal lobe are proposed as characteristics of individuals with highlanguage ability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. 56 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1358
Keyword
Language ability, performance, fMRI, functional magnetic resonance imaging, Broca, Wernicke, temporal lobe, inferior frontal gyrus, reading, fluency, lateralization, lateralisation, right hemisphere, performance-dependent, neural activation
National Category
Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-91053 (URN)978-91-7519-668-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-05-17, Berzeliussalen, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-04-16 Created: 2013-04-12 Last updated: 2014-10-02Bibliographically approved

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van Ettinger-Veenstra, HeleneMcAllister, AnitaLundberg, PeterKarlsson, ThomasEngström, Maria

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van Ettinger-Veenstra, HeleneMcAllister, AnitaLundberg, PeterKarlsson, ThomasEngström, Maria
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Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV)RadiologyFaculty of Health SciencesSpeech and Language PathologyDepartment of Otorhinolaryngology in LinköpingDivision of Radiological SciencesDepartment of Radiation PhysicsDepartment of Radiology in LinköpingDisability ResearchFaculty of Arts and Sciences
General Language Studies and LinguisticsRadiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging

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