Congratulations to Dr. Brian Coffey on the publication of “Reemergence of the language network during recovery from severe traumatic brain injury: A pilot functional MRI Study,” which was published in the latest issue of Brain Injury.
We hypothesized that, in patients with acute severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) who recover basic language function, speech-evoked blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) functional MRI (fMRI) responses within the canonical language network increase over the first 6 months post-injury.
We conducted a prospective, longitudinal fMRI pilot study of adults with acute severe TBI admitted to the intensive care unit. We also enrolled age- and sex-matched healthy subjects.
Methods and Procedures
We evaluated BOLD signal in bilateral superior temporal gyrus (STG) and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) regions of interest acutely and approximately 6 months post-injury. Given evidence that regions outside the canonical language network contribute to language processing, we also performed exploratory whole-brain analyses.
Main Outcomes and Results
Of the 16 patients enrolled, eight returned for follow-up fMRI, all of whom recovered basic language function. We observed speech-evoked longitudinal BOLD increases in the left STG, but not in the right STG, right IFG, or left IFG. Whole-brain analysis revealed increases in the right supramarginal and middle temporal gyri but no differences between patients and healthy subjects (n = 16).
This pilot study suggests that, in patients with severe TBI who recover language function,speech-evoked BOLD responses in bihemispheric language-processing cortex reemerge by 6 months post-injury.