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Mind your Language, All Right? Performance-dependent neural patterns of language
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Radiology. Linköping University, Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV). Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3587-3568
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 [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-91053ISBN: 978-91-7519-668-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-91053DiVA: diva2:616350
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
List of papers
1. Right-hemispheric brain activation correlates to language performance
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Right-hemispheric brain activation correlates to language performance
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2010 (English)In: NEUROIMAGE, ISSN 1053-8119, Vol. 49, no 4, 3481-3488 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Language function in the right-hemispheric homologues of Brocas and Wernickes areas does not only correlate with left-handedness or pathology, but occurs naturally in right-handed healthy subjects as well. In the current study, two non-invasive methods of assessing language lateralization are correlated with behavioral results in order to link hemispheric dominance to language ability in healthy subjects. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) together with a sentence-completion paradigm was used to determine region-specific lateralization indices in the left- and right-sided Brocas and Wernickes areas, the frontal temporal lobe, the anterior cingulate cortex and the parietal lobe. In addition, dichotic listening results were used to determine overall language lateralization and to strengthen conclusions by correlating with fMRI indices. Results showed that fMRI lateralization in the superior parietal, the posterior temporal, and the anterior cingulate cortices correlated to dichotic listening. A decreased right ear advantage (REA), which indicates less left- hemispheric dominance in language, correlated with higher performance in most administered language tasks, including reading, language ability, fluency, and non-word discrimination. Furthermore, right hemispheric involvement in the posterior temporal lobe and the homologue of Brocas area suggests better performance in behavioral language tasks. This strongly indicates a supportive role of the right-hemispheric counterparts of Brocas and Wernickes areas in language performance.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-53932 (URN)10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.10.041 (DOI)000274064500059 ()
Note
Original Publication: Helene M van Ettinger-Veenstra, Mattias Ragnehed, Mathias Hällgren, Thomas Karlsson, Anne-Marie Landtblom, Peter Lundberg and Maria Engström, Right-hemispheric brain activation correlates to language performance, 2010, NEUROIMAGE, (49), 4, 3481-3488. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.10.041 Copyright: Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam http://www.elsevier.com/Available from: 2010-02-12 Created: 2010-02-12 Last updated: 2014-10-02
2. Right-hemispheric cortical contributions to language ability in healthy adults
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2012 (English)In: Brain and Language, ISSN 0093-934X, E-ISSN 1090-2155, Vol. 120, no 3, 395-400 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study we investigated the correlation between individual linguistic ability based on performance levels and their engagement of typical and atypical language areas in the brain. Eighteen healthy subjects between 21 and 64 years participated in language ability tests, and subsequent functional MRI scans measuring brain activity in response to a sentence completion and a word fluency task. Performance in both reading and high-level language tests correlated positively with increased right-hemispheric activation in the inferior frontal gyrus (specifically Brodmann area 47), the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and the medial temporal gyrus (Brodmann area 21). In contrast, we found a negative correlation between performance and left-hemispheric DLPFC activation.

Our findings indicate that the right lateral frontal and right temporal regions positively modulate aspects of language ability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2012
Keyword
Linguistics; Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Functional laterality; Task performance; Reading; Fluency
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73623 (URN)10.1016/j.bandl.2011.10.002 (DOI)000301759100019 ()22115846 (PubMedID)
Note
funding agencies|Stahls Foundation||Strategic Research Area of the Center of Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV) at Linkoping University, Sweden||Available from: 2012-01-10 Created: 2012-01-10 Last updated: 2017-12-08
3. Impaired language function in generalized epilepsy: Inadequate suppression of the default mode network
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2013 (English)In: Epilepsy & Behavior, ISSN 1525-5050, E-ISSN 1525-5069, Vol. 28, no 1, 26-35 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We aimed to study the effect of a potential default mode network (DMN) dysfunction on language performance in epilepsy. Language dysfunction in focal epilepsy has previously been connected to brain damage in language-associated cortical areas. In this work, we studied generalized epilepsy (GE) without focal brain damage to see if the language function was impaired. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate if the DMN was involved. Eleven persons with GE and 28 healthy controls were examined with fMRI during a sentence-reading task. We demonstrated impaired language function, reduced suppression of DMN, and, specifically, an inadequate suppression of activation in the left anterior temporal lobe and the posterior cingulate cortex, as well as an aberrant activation in the right hippocampal formation. Our results highlight the presence of language decline in people with epilepsy of not only focal but also generalized origin.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2013
Keyword
generalized epilepsy, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), language performance, sentence reading, verbal fluency, default mode network, hippocampus, temporal lobe, posterior cingulate cortex
National Category
Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging Neurology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-91043 (URN)10.1016/j.yebeh.2013.04.001 (DOI)000320423500007 ()23648277 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2013-04-12 Created: 2013-04-12 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
4. Laterality shifts in neural activation coupled to language ability
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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.

Keyword
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:nbn:se:liu:diva-91044 (URN)
Available from: 2013-04-12 Created: 2013-04-12 Last updated: 2015-09-22

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