Age-related evolution of the contribution of the right hemisphere to language: absence of evidence

Int J Neurosci. 1999 Aug;99(1-4):59-67. doi: 10.3109/00207459908994313.


The age difference observed between Wernicke's and Broca's aphasics has been understood by some authors as an indication of a progressive diminution of the contribution of the right hemisphere to language throughout the life span. To test this hypothesis, 24 right-hemisphere-damaged (RHD) and 24 normal control adults were submitted to six tasks looking at different aspects of language abilities. Results showed that RHDs performed less well than normal subjects on 3 of these tasks, but that this difference was not linked with age (younger than 55 versus older than 65 years). Consequently, these results do not support models of functional brain organization suggesting a decreasing contribution of the right hemisphere to language abilities with age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Aphasia, Broca / physiopathology*
  • Aphasia, Wernicke / physiopathology*
  • Communication
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Middle Aged
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Verbal Learning / physiology