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Executive Functioning White Matter Structures Supporting Language Recovery in Post-Stroke Aphasia

EasyChair Preprint no. 6318

3 pagesDate: August 17, 2021


There has been increasing interest in understanding the role of executive processes (e.g., cognitive control, selection, working memory) in the recovery of post-stroke language deficits. Cortical executive function regions have been shown to be recruited during language tasks in post-stroke aphasia, and executive regions play a major role in recovery from aphasia. However, little research has evaluated whether white matter tracts involved in executive functions support language recovery. Here, we evaluated if white matter integrty of executive white matter tracts predicted a) pre-treatment written and spoken language ability, and b) treatment effectiveness in post-stroke participants who received language therapy for sentence processing, naming, or spelling. Fifty-eight participants with chronic left-hemisphere stroke underwent T1- and diffusion-weighted imaging and completed a three-month behavioral language treatment. Eleven age-matched healthy controls were scanned with the same protocol. Seven executive white matter tracts were segmented in each participant, and volumes of each were entered into stepwise regression models to predict pre-treatment sentence processing, naming, and spelling ability and improvement due to training. Volumes of several executive white matter tracts predicted pre-treatment language ability and response to treatment. Specifically, volumes of the genu and right cingulum explained significant and unique variance in trained and untrained item improvement. Volumes of the genu and right cingulum were also significantly greater in post-stroke individuals than in age-matched healthy controls. These results extend previous evidence indicating relevance of executive brain regions in post-stroke langauge recovery. We also report, for the first time, evidence of significant post-stroke neuroplasticity (increased white matter volume relative to controls) in executive white matter structures.

Keyphrases: aphasia, executive functioning, language recovery, post-stroke aphasia, white matter

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Celia Litovsky and Swathi Kiran and Cynthia Thompson and David Caplan and Todd Parrish and Brenda Rapp},
  title = {Executive Functioning White Matter Structures Supporting Language Recovery in Post-Stroke Aphasia},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 6318},

  year = {EasyChair, 2021}}
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