New Study Finds How Stroke Affects Reading Skills

Brain News: Researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center found that knowing brain regions affected by the stroke could have important implications for developing therapies and helping target rehabilitation efforts.

Language impairment and reading difficulty or trouble sounding out words are common in stroke survivors. In the new study researchers aimed to understand how post-stroke difficulties with the three different aspects of phonology (auditory and auditory-motor translation) relate to difficulties with reading. Phonological processing refers to understanding and being able to use the sounds that comprise language.

The research team tested reading and phonological abilities in 67 people, 30 of whom had had a stroke and 37 that had not. Using advanced MRI techniques, researchers traced out white matter connections and map out stroke locations in the brains of affected study participants.

“We found two different patterns of reading problems. Strokes involving the left frontal lobe caused problems with motor phonology and one of the two ways of reading, specifically sounding out words. In contrast, strokes involving the left temporal and parietal lobes caused problems with auditory-motor translation and both ways of reading,” says the study’s first author, J. Vivian Dickens, PhD.

The new study published in Brain Communications, mainly focused on reading aloud single words, a classic measure of reading ability. The findings are an important step forward in revealing the mechanisms of translating print to sound, which is important for developing rehabilitative therapies for patients who have had strokes.

To Know More You May Refer To:

Dickens, J. V., DeMarco, A. T., Van der Stelt, C. M., Snider, S. F., Lacey, E. H., Medaglia, J. D., Friedman, R. B., & Turkeltaub, P. E. (2021). Two types of phonological reading impairment in stroke aphasia. Brain Communications, 3(3). https://doi.org/10.1093/braincomms/fcab194

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