In rare cases of severe and intractable epilepsy, cerebral hemispherectomy is performed to arrest seizure activity and improve quality of life. The remaining hemisphere is often capable of supporting many cognitive functions post-surgery, although the outcome depends on the underlying etiology, hemisphere removed, and age of resection. The mechanisms underlying this massive reorganization are at present unknown. Here we examined intrinsic functional connectivity of putative language brain networks in four children after left cerebral hemispherectomy using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI). We compared these functional systems to intrinsic language networks in 15 neurotypical controls using region-of-interest (ROI)-based functional connectivity analyses. In three out of four hemispherectomy patients, the ROI placed in the right inferior gyrus revealed a functional network that strongly resembled the right hemisphere intrinsic language network observed in controls.

This network typically comprised inferior frontal gyrus, superior temporal sulcus, and premotor regions. Quantitative ROI-to-ROI analyses revealed that functional connectivity between major nodes of the language network was significantly altered in all 4 examined patients. Overall, our data demonstrate that the pattern of functional connectivity within language networks is at least partially preserved in the intact right hemisphere of patients who underwent left hemispherectomy.

Authors: Anna Ivanova, Eran Zaidel, Noriko Salamon, Susan Bookheimer, Lucina Q. Uddin, Stella de Bode

Journal: Brain Structure and Function

Status: Published.

Collaboration: University of Florida, Miami