11 Mar How Network Dysfunction Might Effect Speech Production
Objective: To investigate the role of multiple distributed brain networks, including the default mode, fronto-temporo-parietal, and cingulo-opercular networks, which mediate domain-general and task-specific processes during speech production after aphasic stroke.
Methods: We conducted an observational functional MRI study to investigate the effects of a previous left hemisphere stroke on functional connectivity within and between distributed networks as patients described pictures. Study design included various baseline tasks, and we compared results to those of age-matched healthy participants performing the same tasks. We used independent component and psychophysiological interaction analyses.
Results: Although activity within individual networks was not predictive of speech production, relative activity between networks was a predictor of both within-scanner and out-of-scanner language performance, over and above that predicted from lesion volume, age, sex, and years of education. Specifically, robust functional imaging predictors were the differential activity between the default mode network and both the left and right fronto-temporo-parietal networks, respectively activated and deactivated during speech. We also observed altered between-network functional connectivity of these networks in patients during speech production.
Conclusions: Speech production is dependent on complex interactions among widely distributed brain networks, indicating that residual speech production after stroke depends on more than the restoration of local domain-specific functions. Our understanding of the recovery of function following focal lesions is not adequately captured by consideration of ipsilesional or contralesional brain regions taking over lost domain-specific functions, but is perhaps best considered as the interaction between what remains of domain-specific networks and domain-general systems that regulate behavior.