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BMBF: Mechanisms of brain reorganisation in the language network.

The human language system has a substantial potential to compensate for loss of function caused by an acute focal lesion or chronic (progressive) neurodegeneration. However, it is less clear which mechanisms help to maintain or restore language functions in the damaged language system. The overall goal of our research is to clarify how and to what extent the human brain can cope with acute or slowly evolving neuronal loss that affects important nodes of the language network. We hypothesize that functional reorganisation and its temporo-spatial dynamics depend on the extent of the anatomic lesion (affecting predominantly the dorsal or the ventral processing stream) and the associated functional deficit (affecting predominantly semantic or phonological processing) as revealed by a given language task (e.g. comprehension, repetition or naming). Critically, we propose that there is not one single crucial mechanism or area mediating recovery. Our main hypothesis is that recovery of function is based on the “re-coordination” of a network of areas, each of which may be specialised in one or more aspects of the lost function, but requires the coherent and timely support from the others to reach a high level of proficiency. Selected publications: Saur D, Lange R, Baumgaertner A, Schraknepper V, Willmes K, Rijntjes M, Weiller C. Dynamics of language reorganization after stroke. Brain 2006; 129: 1371-84. Musso M, Weiller C, Kiebel S, Muller SP, Bulau P, Rijntjes M. Training-induced brain plasticity in aphasia. Brain 1999; 122: 1781-90. Weiller C, Isensee C, Rijntjes M, Huber W, Muller S, Bier D, et al. Recovery from Wernicke's Aphasia: a positron emission tomographic study. Ann Neurol 1995; 37: 723-32. Weiller C, Willmes K, Reiche W, Thron A, Isensee C, Buell U, et al. The case of aphasia or neglect after striatocapsular infarction. Brain 1993; 116: 1509-25.

Weitere Informationen: http://www.uniklinik-freiburg.de/fbi/live/forschung/reorg/language_en.html
Ansprechpartner: Dr. Dorothee Saur, Susanne Schnell
Tel: 0761-270-5235
Email: susanne.schnell@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Projektbeginn: 01.04.2007
Projektende: 31.03.2012
Saur D, Hennig J, Kellmeyer P, Kümmerer D, Härle M, Schnell S, u.a.

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Department für Radiologische Diagnostik und Therapie
Klinik für Radiologie
Hugstetterstrasse 55
79106 Freiburg

Telefon: +49-761-270-38050/38060
Fax: +49-761-270-38380

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