Recovery from Wernicke's aphasia: a positron emission tomographic study

Ann Neurol. 1995 Jun;37(6):723-32. doi: 10.1002/ana.410370605.


Changes in the organization of the brain after recovery from aphasia were investigated by measuring increases in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) during repetition of pseudowords and during verb generation. Six right-handed patients who had recovered from Wernicke's aphasia caused by an infarction destroying the left posterior perisylvian language zone were compared with 6 healthy, right-handed volunteers. In the control subjects, strong rCBF increases were found in the left hemisphere in the posterior part of the superior and middle temporal gyrus (Wernicke's area), and during the generation task in lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) and in inferior frontal gyrus (Broca's area). There were some weak right hemisphere increases in superior temporal gyrus and inferior premotor cortex. In the patients, rCBF increases were preserved in the frontal areas. There was clear right hemisphere activation in superior temporal gyrus and inferior premotor and lateral prefrontal cortices, homotopic to the left hemisphere language zones. Increased left frontal and right perisylvian activity in patients with persisting destruction of Wernicke's area emphasizes redistribution of activity within the framework of a preexisting, parallel processing and bilateral network as the central mechanism in functional reorganization of the language system after stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aphasia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Aphasia / etiology
  • Aphasia / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / blood supply
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Infarction / complications
  • Dominance, Cerebral*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Temporal Lobe / blood supply*
  • Temporal Lobe / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed