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Mapping lesion, structural disconnection, and functional disconnection to symptoms in semantic aphasia

Souter, N. E., Wang, X., Thompson, H. E. ORCID: 0000-0002-0679-1961 , Krieger-Redwood, K., Halai, A. D., Ralph, M. A. L., de Schotten, M. T. & Jefferies, E. (2022). Mapping lesion, structural disconnection, and functional disconnection to symptoms in semantic aphasia. Brain Structure and Function, 227(9), pp. 3043-3061. doi: 10.1007/s00429-022-02526-6


Patients with semantic aphasia have impaired control of semantic retrieval, often accompanied by executive dysfunction following left hemisphere stroke. Many but not all of these patients have damage to the left inferior frontal gyrus, important for semantic and cognitive control. Yet semantic and cognitive control networks are highly distributed, including posterior as well as anterior components. Accordingly, semantic aphasia might not only reflect local damage but also white matter structural and functional disconnection. Here, we characterise the lesions and predicted patterns of structural and functional disconnection in individuals with semantic aphasia and relate these effects to semantic and executive impairment. Impaired semantic cognition was associated with infarction in distributed left-hemisphere regions, including in the left anterior inferior frontal and posterior temporal cortex. Lesions were associated with executive dysfunction within a set of adjacent but distinct left frontoparietal clusters. Performance on executive tasks was also associated with interhemispheric structural disconnection across the corpus callosum. In contrast, poor semantic cognition was associated with small left-lateralized structurally disconnected clusters, including in the left posterior temporal cortex. Little insight was gained from functional disconnection symptom mapping. These results demonstrate that while left-lateralized semantic and executive control regions are often damaged together in stroke aphasia, these deficits are associated with distinct patterns of structural disconnection, consistent with the bilateral nature of executive control and the left-lateralized yet distributed semantic control network.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Stroke, Semantic, Aphasia, Structural, Functional, Disconnection
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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