Neuroplasticity during the transition period: How the adolescent brain can recover from aphasia. A pilot study
Background: Increasing clinical and scientific attention is given to the transition of neurological stages from child to adult. Data on brain plasticity during adolescence is interesting for providing adequate evidence-based medical attention to neurological conditions in this population. Acquired aphasia is well described in adults and children, but not in adolescence.
Objective: We describe a 5-year follow-up of language in three adolescent subjects with post-brain injury aphasia.
Methods: We analysed and scored formal aspects of language three times, language hemispheric dominance twice with dichotic listening test and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain activation patterns that supported expressive and comprehensive language during the recovery period.
Results: We found similarities to both paediatric and adult aphasia in these three adolescents. While the level of recovery resembled that of children with aphasia, a more efficient language rehabilitation occurred in those who remained with left hemispheric dominance in the chronic stage, as it is reported in adults.
Conclusions: Our analysis and long-term follow-up provide data for a better understanding on how the injured brain matures during adolescence. More studies with larger samples will help to understand the function of the remaining networks and the recovery from injury in this particular age group.