Stroke-induced alterations in cerebral blood flow (perfusion) may contribute to functional language impairments and recovery in chronic aphasia. Using MRI, we examined perfusion in the right and left hemispheres of 35 aphasic and 16 healthy control participants. Across 76 regions (38 per hemisphere), no significant between-subjects differences were found in the left, whereas blood flow in the right was increased in the aphasic compared to the control participants. Region-of-interest (ROI) analyses showed a varied pattern of hypo- and hyperperfused regions across hemispheres in the aphasic participants; however, there were no significant correlations between perfusion values and language abilities in these regions. These patterns may reflect autoregulatory changes in blood flow following stroke and/or increases in general cognitive effort, rather than maladaptive language processing. We also examined blood flow in perilesional tissue, finding the greatest hypoperfusion close to the lesion (within 0-6 mm), with greater hypoperfusion in this region compared to more distal regions. In addition, hypoperfusion in this region was significantly correlated with language impairment. These findings underscore the need to consider cerebral perfusion as a factor contributing to language deficits in chronic aphasia as well as recovery of language function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology