Authors: Wilson KR, O'Rourke H, Wozniak LA, Kostopoulos E, Marchand Y, Newman AJ
Title: Changes in n400 topography following intensive speech language therapy for individuals with aphasia
Source: Brain and Language 2012 123(2): 94-103
Year: 2012
Research Design: Case Series

Our goal was to characterize the effects of intensive aphasia therapy on the N400, an electrophysiological index of lexical-semantic processing. Immediately before and after 4 weeks of intensive speech-language therapy, people with aphasia performed a task in which they had to determine whether spoken words were a ‘match’ or a ‘mismatch’ to pictures of objects. Pre-therapy, people with aphasia exhibited an N400 mismatch effect that started over right hemisphere electrodes. Post-therapy, gains were seen in clinical measures of language ability, and the onset of the N400 was left-lateralized. No changes in the scalp distribution of the N400 were observed in healthy controls tested twice over the same 4 week interval. Since the distribution of the N400 after aphasia therapy differed from that of healthy controls, we conclude that it reflects the engagement of compensatory neural mechanisms for language processing rather than a return to a ‘‘normal’’ pattern of brain activation.

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