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Study Highlights Infant Brain Abilities After Suffering a Stroke

Study Highlights Infant Brain Abilities After Suffering a Stroke

A new study suggests that after experiencing a stroke, an infant’s brain can counteract and adapt to the damage the brain sustained. The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), notes that after suffering a stroke on the left side of the brain, children were able to learn language using the right hemisphere of the brain.

Normally, the left side of the brain processes language, words, and sentences while the right side handles the emotions of the voice being heard. The study sought to see what happens when one of the hemispheres of the brain is injured at birth, and therefore is not functioning normally.

Researchers studied perinatal arterial ischemic stroke, a type of pediatric stroke that occurs between 20 weeks gestation and 28 days postnatal life. This type of stroke is caused by a disruption in blood flow to a major cerebral artery, resulting in damage to an area of cerebral tissue.

Study participants from across the U.S. who suffered medium to large strokes to their left hemisphere around the time of birth were given language tests at nine to 26 years of age. These results were compared to those of their similar-aged healthy siblings. Participants’ brains were also scanned in an MRI. This imaging showed which areas of the brain areas were being used in sentence comprehension. The language tests revealed almost identical results among the participants and their siblings. The major difference was that that participants who suffered strokes used the right side of the brain to process sentences while their siblings used the left side. This indicates the brain’s amazing “plasticity,” or ability to adapt. Researchers plan to use the information gained from the study to help adult stroke survivors as well.

Our Birth Injury Attorneys Represent Families Nationwide

If your child experienced a neonatal or perinatal arterial ischemic stroke, and has suffered as a result, consider contacting our experienced birth injury attorneys. We can discuss your unique situation and help you understand your potential legal options.

Call us at (877) 262-9767 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We represent families nationwide and have offices in Chicago IL, Baltimore MD, New York NY, and Wilmington DE.