Are language skills related to structural features in Broca's and Wernicke's area?
- Journal Article
This study used structural magnetic resonance imaging to examine whether specific anatomical features of Broca's and Wernicke's areas are related to language functions in typically developing older subjects with no specific language expertize. Data from 231 subjects from the Zurich LHAB-study are used for this study. For these subjects, we obtained several psychometric measures from which we calculated performance measures reflecting specific psychological functions (language comprehension, verbal fluency, perceptual speed, visual memory, recognition of regularities, and logical thinking). From the MRI measurements, we calculated the cortical thickness and cortical surface of Broca's and Wernicke's areas. Applying multiple regression analyses, we identified a moderately strong relationship between language comprehension and the brain metrics from Broca's and Wernicke's areas and showed that approximately 10% of the variance in language comprehension performance is explained by the linear combination of all perisylvian brain metrics. The other psychological functions (verbal fluency, perceptual speed, visual memory, recognition of regularities, and logical thinking) are not related to these brain metrics. Subsequent detailed analyses revealed that the cortical thickness of Wernicke's area, in particular, contributed most to this structure-function relationship. The better performance in the language comprehension tests was related to a thicker cortex in Wernicke's area. Thus, this study demonstrates a structure-function relationship between the anatomical features of the perisylvian language areas and language comprehension, suggesting that particular anatomical features are associated with better language performance. Show more
Journal / seriesEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Pages / Article No.
SubjectBroca's area; cortical surface; cortical thickness; freesurfer; Wernicke's area
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