We identified areas of the brain that are critical for naming pictures of objects, using a new methodology for testing which components of a network of brain regions are essential for that task. We identified areas of hypoperfusion and structural damage with magnetic resonance perfusion- and diffusion-weighted imaging immediately after stroke in 87 individuals with impaired picture naming. These individuals were reimaged after 3-5 d, after a subset of patients underwent intervention to restore normal blood flow, to determine areas of the brain that had reperfused. We identified brain regions in which reperfusion was associated with improvement in picture naming. Restored blood flow to left posterior middle temporal/fusiform gyrus, Broca's area, and/or Wernicke's area accounted for most acute improvement after stroke. Results show that identifying areas of reperfusion that are associated with acute improvement of a function can reveal the brain regions essential for that function.
- Magnetic resonance imaging
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