New Jersey Researchers Use Neuroimaging To Explore Reading Deficits After Left Stroke, Kessler Foundation and Rutgers University Study

New Jersey researchers use neuroimaging to explore reading deficits after left stroke

Relating acquired reading impairments to cognitive deficits will lead to targeted rehabilitative interventions

October 16, 2015 Researchers at Kessler Foundation and Rutgers University correlated neuroimaging data with reading deficits in patients with subacute left hemispheric stroke. Their findings add to our knowledge of the neural mechanisms of reading and may be useful in the development of reading interventions that address specific neurological deficits. The article, "Neurally dissociable cognitive components of reading deficits in subacute stroke" (doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00298) was published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. The authors are Olga Boukrina, PhD, Edward Alexander and William Graves, PhD, of Rutgers University, and A.M. Barrett, MD, and Bing Yao, PhD, of Kessler Foundation.

Although impaired reading can cause significant disability, few studies have focused on the cognitive components of reading. The objective of this study was to link each of the three components: visual form (orthography), sound (phonology) and meaning (semantics), with their neural substrates. In this study, 11 stroke patients underwent neuropsychological testing and neuroimaging, which enabled investigators to correlate their cognitive deficits with respect to lesion location.

Participants were studied during inpatient rehabilitation, within 5 weeks of left-sided stroke. All underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging, psychometric testing, neurological examination and tests for phonological, orthographic and semantic impairments. One interesting finding was the association between phonological deficits and lesions in the anterior temporal lobe and mid-fusiform gyrus.

"Although this lesion-deficit approach is not widely used, it offers a way to define impairments in reading in relation to specific cognitive deficits," said Dr. Barrett, director of stroke rehabilitation research at Kessler Foundation. "This novel framework could provide the basis for targeted interventions for addressing acquired reading deficits. Research that advances our understanding of the cognitive processes involved in reading will improve the rehabilitative care of individuals with left-sided stroke, and benefit other populations with acquired reading impairments."


This study was supported by grants from the National Institute for Child Health & Human Development R00-HD065839, and the Mabel H. Flory Foundation.

About Stroke Rehabilitation Research at Kessler Foundation

Research studies span all domains of post-stroke cognitive dysfunction, but emphasize hidden disabilities after stroke, including hidden disabilities of functional vision (spatial bias and spatial neglect). Students, resident physicians, and post-doctoral trainees are mentored in translational neuroscience of rehabilitation. Dr. Barrett and her colleagues work closely with the clinical staff at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. Among their collaborative efforts are the founding of the Network for Spatial Neglect and development of the Kessler Foundation Neglect Assessment Process (KF-NAPTM) and the Kessler Foundation Prism Adaptation Therapy (KF-PATTM). Stroke Research receives funding from the Department of Education/NIDILRR; the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders & Stroke, the National Institutes of Health/NICHD/NCMRR; Kessler Foundation; the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey; and the Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Improvement. Scientists have faculty appointments at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit;; Tweet us @KesslerFdn


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