Impaired discourse content in aphasia is associated with frontal white matter damage

Junhua Ding, Erica L. Middleton, Daniel Mirman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Aphasia is a common consequence of stroke with severe impacts on employability, social interactions and quality of life. Producing discourse-relevant information in a real-world setting is the most important aspect of recovery because it is critical to successful communication. This study sought to identify the lesion correlates of impaired production of relevant information in spoken discourse in a large, unselected sample of participants with post-stroke aphasia. Spoken discourse (n = 80) and structural brain scans (n = 66) from participants with aphasia following left hemisphere stroke were analysed. Each participant provided 10 samples of spoken discourse elicited in three different genres, and ‘correct information unit’ analysis was used to quantify the informativeness of speech samples. The lesion correlates were identified using multivariate lesion–symptom mapping, voxel-wise disconnection and tract-wise analyses. Amount and speed of relevant information were highly correlated across different genres and with total lesion size. The analyses of lesion correlates converged on the same pattern: impaired production of relevant information was associated with damage to anterior dorsal white matter pathways, specifically the arcuate fasciculus, frontal aslant tract and superior longitudinal fasciculus. Damage to these pathways may be a useful biomarker for impaired informative spoken discourse and informs development of neurorehabilitation strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberfcad310
JournalBrain Communications
Issue number6
Early online date10 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • speech production
  • aphasia
  • communication
  • picture description
  • communication efficiency


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