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

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  • Noelia Martínez-Molina, University of Helsinki
  • ,
  • Sini Tuuli Siponkoski, University of Helsinki
  • ,
  • Anni Pitkäniemi, University of Helsinki
  • ,
  • Nella Moisseinen, University of Helsinki
  • ,
  • Linda Kuusela, University of Helsinki
  • ,
  • Johanna Pekkola, University of Helsinki
  • ,
  • Sari Laitinen, University of Helsinki, Espoo Hospital
  • ,
  • Essi Reetta Särkämö, University of Helsinki, Private Choir Conductor,
  • Susanna Melkas, University of Helsinki
  • ,
  • Boris Kleber
  • Gottfried Schlaug, University of Massachusetts
  • ,
  • Aleksi Sihvonen, University of Helsinki, University of Queensland
  • ,
  • Teppo Särkämö, University of Helsinki

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
Volume4
Issue1
Number of pages10
ISSN2632-1297
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

    Research areas

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

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