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Poster E14, Friday, November 10, 10:00 – 11:15 am, Harborview and Loch Raven Ballrooms

Brain bases of acquired reading impairments in stroke

William Graves1, Olga Boukrina2, A. M. Barrett2;1Rutgers University - Newark, 2Kessler Foundation

The ability to read is an essential part of today’s society and its disruption, for example, as a result of stroke, represents a significant handicap. While much work has been devoted to studying the cognitive components of typical reading and their neuroimaging correlates, little is known about the brain lesion - reading deficit associations after stroke. In this study, we sought to identify what brain areas are necessary for supporting the cognitive components of reading: orthography (visual word form), phonology (auditory word form) and semantics (word meaning), by examining the patterns of reading deficits in a cohort of left stroke survivors. We studied 23 patients (Age = 62 y., SD = 11 y.; 13 females) undergoing rehabilitation. All but one were within the first 5 weeks post-stroke, a period likely to reveal reading deficits. Patients completed computerized touch-screen tests of semantics, phonology, and orthography. In the semantic task, patients matched one of two words (or pictures) to a target based on meaning similarity. In the phonology task, the match among pseudoword stimuli was based on rhyming. In the orthography task, patients selected the most word-like string, where strings either matched or mismatched English orthographic properties. We used a subtraction analysis to identify lesion locations in patients who performed below chance on these tasks as compared to patients scoring above chance. This analysis revealed lesions in supramarginal gyrus, Heschl’s gyrus, and the superior longitudinal fasciculus, associated with phonological deficits. A voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping analysis, considering continuous scores along all 3 reading components, supported this result. It additionally revealed correlates of orthographic function in the precentral gyrus, insula, thalamus, and the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus; and semantic function in the hippocampus, caudate, and adjacent white matter. Our results support the notion that the same neural structures underlie phonology in speech and print, and implicate frontal and subcortical regions in orthographic processing.

Topic Area: Language Disorders

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