Aphasia is a language disorder affecting more than one million people in the US. While language function has traditionally been the focus of neuroimaging research, other cognitive functions are affected in this population, which has implications not only for those specific processes but also for the interaction of language and other cognitive functions. Resting state fMRI (rs-fMRI) is a practical and informative way to explore and characterize general cognitive engagement and/or health in this population, but it is currently underutilized. The aim of this study was to explore the functional connectivity in resting state networks (RSNs) and in the semantic network in seven persons with aphasia (PWA) who were at least 6 months post onset compared with 11 neurologically healthy adults (NHA) in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of general cognitive engagement in aphasia. These preliminary results show that PWA exhibit hypoconnectivity in the semantic network and all RSNs except the visual network. Compared with NHA, PWA appear to have fewer cross- and left-hemispheric connections. However, PWA exhibit some stronger connections than NHA within the semantic network, which could indicate compensatory mechanisms. Importantly, connectivity for RSNs appear to increase with decreasing aphasia severity and decrease with increasing lesion size. This knowledge has the potential to improve aphasia therapy by furthering the understanding of lesion effects on the cognitive system as a whole, which can guide treatment target selection and promotion of favorable neural reorganization for optimal recovery of function.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry
- Behavioral Neuroscience