PET evaluation of bilingual language compensation following early childhood brain damage

Michael C. Tierney, Mary Varga, Lara Hosey, Jordan Grafman, Allen Braun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We report a positron emission tomography (PET) study in a 37-year-old, right handed, bilingual (English and American Sign Language) male with left frontal lobe damage, without evidence of language or general intellectual dysfunction. A brain MRI scan demonstrated an atrophic lesion of the left dorsolateral prefrontal, orbital, and opercular cortices extending from the frontal pole to precentral gyrus and including parts of anterior cingulate cortex, due to an probable infantile encephalitis. H2 15O PET scans found evidence of increased right hemisphere activity compared to normal controls during spontaneous generation of narrative in both English and ASL. Neuropsychological data were within normal limits with the exception of visuospatial function. The results suggest the possibility that plasticity, unmasking of neural pathways, and or other adaptations of language function in the right hemisphere may have occurred, and are discussed with regard to the crowding hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-121
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • ASL
  • Crowding
  • Left frontal lobe damage
  • Plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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