Brain flexibility can help infant stroke victims learn language
People usually think of the two sides of the brain as having uniquely different functions. We often think of the left side of the brain as being responsible for controlling the right side of the body and handling matters of logic and math, while the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and handles creative function.
But a new study, which analyzed four-year-old children who have experienced damage to their brain’s left side during development, has revealed that the brain’s right hemisphere can take over language functions in the wake of left-side damage.
The study, conducted by the Society for Neuroscience, proves that the brain’s abilities and functions are flexible in response to early-development injury.
The Society’s Clément François from the University of Barcelona compared brains and language skills of healthy children to those in children who experienced left-hemisphere strokes in infancy.
By using magnetic resonance imaging, François and his colleagues saw that the arcuate fasciculus, which is a white fiber bundle that links language-processing brain areas, was greater in volume in the right hemisphere and lower in volume in the left hemisphere in patients that experienced stroke. Those children with the largest right hemisphere volume performed best on language tests.
The research was published in the journal eNeuro.
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