2018 ASHA Research Symposium: Swathi Kiran, Neuroplasticity and Language Recovery

This presentation video is from the Research Symposium at the 2018 annual convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association held in Boston, MA.

The abstract for the accompanying article is below. This article is part of the JSLHR Forum: Advances in Neuroplasticity Research on Language Recovery in Aphasia.

Purpose: Despite a tremendous amount of research in this topic, the precise neural mechanisms underlying language recovery remain unclear. Much of the evidence suggests that activation of remaining left-hemisphere tissue, including perilesional areas, is linked to the best treatment outcomes, yet recruitment of the right hemisphere for various language tasks has also been linked to favorable behavioral outcomes. In this review article, we propose a framework of language recovery that incorporates a network-based view of the brain regions involved in recovery.
Method: We review evidence from the extant literature and work from our own laboratory to identify findings consistent with our proposed framework and identify gaps in our current knowledge.
Results: Expanding on Heiss and Thiel’s (2006) hierarchy of language recovery, we identify 4 emerging themes: (a) Several bilateral regions constitute a network engaged in language recovery; (b) spared left-hemisphere regions are important components of the network engaged in language recovery; (c) as damage increases in the left hemisphere, activation expands to the right hemisphere and domain-general regions; and (d) patients with efficient, control-like network topology show greater improvement than paients with abnormal topology. We propose a mechanistic model of language recovery that accounts for individual
differences in behavior, network topology, and treatment responsiveness.
Conclusion: Continued work in this topic will lead us to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying language recovery, biomarkers that influence recovery, and, consequently, more personalized treatment options for individual patients.

Kiran, S., Meier, E. L., & Johnson, J. P. (2019). Neuroplasticity in aphasia: A proposed framework of language recovery. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62(11), 3973–3985. https://doi.org/10.1044/2019_JSLHR-L-RSNP-19-0054