LANGUAGE AND MOTOR PLASTICITY: FMRI IN CHILDREN

Summary

Principal Investigator: Ralph Axel Müller
Abstract: Even though functional neuroimaging techniques have been available for decades, they have generated only limited evidence of developmental plasticity. In human studies, brain -organizational changes during development have been mostly inferred from structural imaging and behavioral data. Our previous positron emission tomography studies in brain-damaged children and adults suggested pronounced functional reorganization following congenital and early postnatal lesion. We propose to approach the issue of developmental plasticity by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The proposed research will examine (i) developmental changes of normal brain organization and (ii) functional reorganization following brain damage (early versus late). It will be performed in close cooperation with investigators of two existing NIH-funded centers for the study of cognitive and language development and the effects of focal brain damage. We will study 96 healthy subjects, evenly distributed across 4 age groups (6-8, 9-12, 13-17, and 18-50 years), using fMRI with two language paradigms (picture naming, syntactic decoding) and one motor task (finger movement). Studies of healthy subjects will provide reference data for the additional study of 20 pediatric and 20 adult patients with left hemisphere damage. Activation measures will be taken for multiple regions of interest, which will be traced on high-resolution anatomical MRIs of each individual brain. Our hypotheses are based on evidence of an experientially influenced interplay of constructive and regressive events in normal brain development. We expect that regressive events (e.g., synaptic pruning) may be partially suspended in reorganization after brain lesion. We specifically hypothesize that (a) task-related activations become more focal and lateralized during normal development, (b) left hemisphere lesion results in interhemispheric reorganization of language and motor processing, (c) reorganization is more pronounced after early (compared to late) lesion, and (d) regional patterns of reorganization differ between functional domains (language versus motor). Findings are expected to contribute to the understanding of compensatory plasticity in development.
Funding Period: 2001-09-25 - 2008-08-31
more information: NIH RePORT

Top Publications

  1. pmc An fMRI study of sentence-embedded lexical-semantic decision in children and adults
    Erin Nicole Moore-Parks
    Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, California, United States
    Brain Lang 114:90-100. 2010
  2. ncbi Activity and functional connectivity of inferior frontal cortex associated with response conflict
    Nobuko Kemmotsu
    Brain Development Imaging Laboratory, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, 6363 Alvarado Ct, 225 E, San Diego, CA 92120 1863, USA
    Brain Res Cogn Brain Res 24:335-42. 2005
  3. pmc Effects of generation mode in fMRI adaptations of semantic fluency: paced production and overt speech
    Surina Basho
    Brain Development Imaging Laboratory, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92120 1863, USA
    Neuropsychologia 45:1697-706. 2007
  4. pmc The study of autism as a distributed disorder
    Ralph Axel Müller
    Brain Development Imaging Laboratory, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California 92120 1863, USA
    Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev 13:85-95. 2007
  5. pmc From loci to networks and back again: anomalies in the study of autism
    Ralph Axel Müller
    Brain Development Imaging Laboratory, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92120 1863, USA
    Ann N Y Acad Sci 1145:300-15. 2008
  6. pmc Category-specific activations during word generation reflect experiential sensorimotor modalities
    Kai Hwang
    Brain Development Imaging Laboratory, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, USA
    Neuroimage 48:717-25. 2009

Scientific Experts

  • Ralph Axel Müller
  • Surina Basho
  • Erin Nicole Moore-Parks
  • Kai Hwang
  • Erica D Palmer
  • Nobuko Kemmotsu
  • Erin L Burns
  • Rebecca Bazzill
  • Valerie Posada
  • Sarah Levy
  • Jonathan R Zadra
  • Miguel A Rubio
  • Beverly Wulfeck
  • Michael S Gaffrey
  • Michele E Villalobos
  • Eric Courchesne

Detail Information

Publications6

  1. pmc An fMRI study of sentence-embedded lexical-semantic decision in children and adults
    Erin Nicole Moore-Parks
    Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, California, United States
    Brain Lang 114:90-100. 2010
    ..Unlike previous studies, age-dependent differences were not detected in posterior sensory cortices (such as extrastriate cortex), nor in middle temporal gyrus...
  2. ncbi Activity and functional connectivity of inferior frontal cortex associated with response conflict
    Nobuko Kemmotsu
    Brain Development Imaging Laboratory, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, 6363 Alvarado Ct, 225 E, San Diego, CA 92120 1863, USA
    Brain Res Cogn Brain Res 24:335-42. 2005
    ..We conclude that bilateral inferior frontal cortex is involved in response suppression associated with interference in the counting Stroop task...
  3. pmc Effects of generation mode in fMRI adaptations of semantic fluency: paced production and overt speech
    Surina Basho
    Brain Development Imaging Laboratory, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92120 1863, USA
    Neuropsychologia 45:1697-706. 2007
    ..However, response pacing is associated with additional non-linguistic effects related to response inhibition, motor preparation, and sustained attention...
  4. pmc The study of autism as a distributed disorder
    Ralph Axel Müller
    Brain Development Imaging Laboratory, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California 92120 1863, USA
    Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev 13:85-95. 2007
    ..The concepts and methodology of functional connectivity need to be refined and results need to be corroborated by anatomical studies (such as DTI tractography) before definitive conclusions can be drawn...
  5. pmc From loci to networks and back again: anomalies in the study of autism
    Ralph Axel Müller
    Brain Development Imaging Laboratory, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92120 1863, USA
    Ann N Y Acad Sci 1145:300-15. 2008
    ..Here this approach is illustrated via data obtained from autism research that suggest impaired local cortical architecture and reduced long-range connectivity between cerebral regions...
  6. pmc Category-specific activations during word generation reflect experiential sensorimotor modalities
    Kai Hwang
    Brain Development Imaging Laboratory, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, USA
    Neuroimage 48:717-25. 2009
    ....