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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2016, Article ID 4806492, 11 pages
Research Article

Maladaptive Plasticity in Aphasia: Brain Activation Maps Underlying Verb Retrieval Errors

1Rijndam Rehabilitation Institute, P.O. Box 23181, 3001 KD Rotterdam, Netherlands
2Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, P.O. Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, Netherlands
3Centre de Recherche de l’Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal, 4565 Chemin Queen-Mary, Montréal, QC, Canada H3W 1W5
4École d’Orthophonie et d’Audiologie, Université de Montréal, 7077 Avenue du Parc, Montréal, QC, Canada H3N 1X7

Received 16 November 2015; Revised 25 April 2016; Accepted 5 May 2016

Academic Editor: Malgorzata Kossut

Copyright © 2016 Kerstin Spielmann et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Anomia, or impaired word retrieval, is the most widespread symptom of aphasia, an acquired language impairment secondary to brain damage. In the last decades, functional neuroimaging techniques have enabled studying the neural basis underlying anomia and its recovery. The present study aimed to explore maladaptive plasticity in persistent verb anomia, in three male participants with chronic nonfluent aphasia. Brain activation maps associated with semantic verb paraphasia occurring within an oral picture-naming task were identified with an event-related fMRI paradigm. These maps were compared with those obtained in our previous study examining adaptive plasticity (i.e., successful verb naming) in the same participants. The results show that activation patterns related to semantic verb paraphasia and successful verb naming comprise a number of common areas, contributing to both maladaptive and adaptive neuroplasticity mechanisms. This finding suggests that the segregation of brain areas provides only a partial view of the neural basis of verb anomia and successful verb naming. Therefore, it indicates the importance of network approaches which may better capture the complexity of maladaptive and adaptive neuroplasticity mechanisms in anomia recovery.