CNR - Institute of Neuroscience CNR
Institute of Neuroscience


Brain plasticity in aphasics, aged subjects and Alzheimer patients

Brain lesions are known to elicit reorganization of function in representational cortex. Working on linguistic functions, we showed that (a) injury-related reorganization may also be observed in language-related cortex and (b) this reorganization not only appears in cortical space but also in the temporal dynamic of activity. Our studies investigated cortical reorganization in aphasics who had good recovery of linguistic functions. Compared with controls, aphasics' linguistic functions were organized in an atypical manner, in regions around the core lesion in the left dominant hemisphere (Fig. 1), especially at left frontal sites (Spironelli et al., 2008; Angrilli & Spironelli, 2005). Instead, the reorganization of language at left posterior regions was dysfunctional as it was negatively correlated with the recovery of language. In the same areas, further analysis showed a peak of delta EEG activity marking inhibition of deafferentated cortex near the lesion (Fig. 2, Spironelli & Angrilli, 2009a). Current research investigates brain plasticity in Alzheimer patients after 1-month intensive cognitive training, the reorganization of language laterality in psychiatric schizophrenic patients (Angrilli et al., 2009) and across different ages (children, adults and-aged healthy subjects Spironelli & Angrilli, 2009b) with special focus on degradation and reorganization of language in elderly subjects.



  • Spironelli C, Angrilli A (2009) EEG delta band as a marker of brain damage in aphasic patients after recovery of language. 47:988-94.
  • Spironelli C, Angrilli A (2009) Developmental aspects of automatic word processing: language lateralization of early ERP components in children, young adults and middle-aged subjects. 80:35-45.
  • Spironelli C, Angrilli A, Pertile M (2008) Language plasticity in aphasics after recovery: evidence from slow evoked potentials. Neuroimage 40:912-22.


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Alessandro Angrilli

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