Right hemisphere structures predict poststroke speech fluency

Neurology. 2016 Apr 26;86(17):1574-81. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002613. Epub 2016 Mar 30.


Objective: We sought to determine via a cross-sectional study the contribution of (1) the right hemisphere's speech-relevant white matter regions and (2) interhemispheric connectivity to speech fluency in the chronic phase of left hemisphere stroke with aphasia.

Methods: Fractional anisotropy (FA) of white matter regions underlying the right middle temporal gyrus (MTG), precentral gyrus (PreCG), pars opercularis (IFGop) and triangularis (IFGtri) of the inferior frontal gyrus, and the corpus callosum (CC) was correlated with speech fluency measures. A region within the superior parietal lobule (SPL) was examined as a control. FA values of regions that significantly predicted speech measures were compared with FA values from healthy age- and sex-matched controls.

Results: FA values for the right MTG, PreCG, and IFGop significantly predicted speech fluency, but FA values of the IFGtri and SPL did not. A multiple regression showed that combining FA of the significant right hemisphere regions with the lesion load of the left arcuate fasciculus-a previously identified biomarker of poststroke speech fluency-provided the best model for predicting speech fluency. FA of CC fibers connecting left and right supplementary motor areas (SMA) was also correlated with speech fluency. FA of the right IFGop and PreCG was significantly higher in patients than controls, while FA of a whole CC region of interest (ROI) and the CC-SMA ROI was significantly lower in patients.

Conclusions: Right hemisphere white matter integrity is related to speech fluency measures in patients with chronic aphasia. This may indicate premorbid anatomical variability beneficial for recovery or be the result of poststroke remodeling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aphasia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Aphasia / etiology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality*
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Regression Analysis
  • Speech
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / diagnostic imaging*
  • White Matter / diagnostic imaging