Making it Right: Can the Right-Hemisphere Compensate for Language Function in Patients with Left-Frontal Brain Tumors?


Both the degree to which the left-hemisphere is specialized for language and the relative ability of the right-hemisphere to subserve language function are underspecified. The present study sought to identify whether the right-frontal fMRI activation seen in a number of case studies in patients with left-sided brain lesions exists as a group-level trend in patients with left-frontal tumors. It also sought to examine the possible compensatory nature of this activation. Thus, a retrospective analysis of 197 brain tumor patients who had undergone pre-surgical fMRI language mapping was conducted. Patients with left-frontal tumors were found to be more likely to show right- or co-dominant fMRI activation during language mapping tasks compared to patients who had tumors elsewhere in the brain. Further, patients with left-frontal tumors who were identified as right- or co-dominant for language were found to possess more intact language function as measured by the Boston Naming Test.

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