Babies can recover language skills after a left-side stroke | Science News

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Babies can recover language skills after a left-side stroke

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3:45pm, February 18, 2018
MRI scans of brains of healthy and stroke patients

SWITCHING SIDES  These fMRI scans show the brain activity of a healthy person (left) and a stroke patient (right) while doing a language-related task. Having a stroke just before or after being born flips key language-processing areas from the left to the right side of the brain, a new study shows.

AUSTIN, Texas — Babies’ stroke-damaged brains can pull a mirror trick to recover.

A stroke on the left side of the brain often damages important language-processing areas. But people who have this stroke just before or after birth recover their language abilities in the mirror image spot on the right side, a study of teens and young adults shows. Those patients all had normal language skills, even though as much as half of their brain had withered away, researchers reported February 17 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Researchers so far have recruited 12 people ages 12 to 25 who had each experienced a stroke to the same region of their brain’s left hemisphere just before or after birth. People who have this type of stroke as adults often lose their ability to use and understand language, said study coauthor Elissa

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