Neuroanatomical correlates of speech and singing production in chronic post-stroke aphasia

Noelia Martínez-Molina*, Sini Tuuli Siponkoski, Anni Pitkäniemi, Nella Moisseinen, Linda Kuusela, Johanna Pekkola, Sari Laitinen, Essi Reetta Särkämö, Susanna Melkas, Boris Kleber, Gottfried Schlaug, Aleksi Sihvonen, Teppo Särkämö

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


A classical observation in neurology is that aphasic stroke patients with impairments in speech production can nonetheless sing the same utterances. This preserved ability suggests a distinctive neural architecture for singing that could contribute to speech recovery. However, to date, these structural correlates remain unknown. Here, we combined a multivariate lesion-symptom mapping and voxel-based morphometry approach to analyse the relationship between lesion patterns and grey matter volume and production rate in speech and singing tasks. Lesion patterns for spontaneous speech and cued repetition extended into frontal, temporal and parietal areas typically reported within the speech production network. Impairment in spontaneous singing was associated with damage to the left anterior-posterior superior and middle temporal gyri. Preservation of grey matter volume in the same regions where damage led to poor speech and singing production supported better performance in these tasks. When dividing the patients into fluent and dysfluent singers based on the singing performance from demographically matched controls, we found that the preservation of the left middle temporal gyrus was related to better spontaneous singing. These findings provide insights into the structural correlates of singing in chronic aphasia and may serve as biomarkers to predict treatment response in clinical trials using singing-based interventions for speech rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberfcac001
JournalBrain Communications
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • aphasia
  • lesion-symptom mapping
  • singing
  • speech
  • voxel-based morphometry


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