Neuroplasticity of language networks in aphasia: Advances, updates, and future challenges

Swathi Kiran*, Cynthia K. Thompson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Researchers have sought to understand how language is processed in the brain, how brain damage affects language abilities, and what can be expected during the recovery period since the early 19th century. In this review, we first discuss mechanisms of damage and plasticity in the post-stroke brain, both in the acute and the chronic phase of recovery. We then review factors that are associated with recovery. First, we review organism intrinsic variables such as age, lesion volume and location and structural integrity that influence language recovery. Next, we review organism extrinsic factors such as treatment that influence language recovery. Here, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of language recovery and highlight recent work that emphasizes a network perspective of language recovery. Finally, we propose our interpretation of the principles of neuroplasticity, originally proposed by Kleim and Jones (1) in the context of extant literature in aphasia recovery and rehabilitation. Ultimately, we encourage researchers to propose sophisticated intervention studies that bring us closer to the goal of providing precision treatment for patients with aphasia and a better understanding of the neural mechanisms that underlie successful neuroplasticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number295
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - 2019


  • Aphasia
  • Neuroimaging (anatomic and functional)
  • Plasticity
  • Recovery
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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