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Varieties of silence: The impact of neurodegenerative diseases on language systems in the brain.
PATTERSON, K., GRAHAM, N.L., Lambon Ralph, M.A. & HODGES, J.R.
In J.R. Pomerantz & M Crair (Eds), Topics in Integrative Neuroscience: from Cells to Cognition
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The quest for evidence regarding the organistion of language in the brain has been dominated by the study of acquired aphasia due to cerebro-vascular accident (stroke). Researchers can now address many of these questions by measuring regional cerabral activation in normal speakers performing language tasks. There is, however, another revealing source of evidence, recommended a century ago (Pick, 1904) but almost entirely ignored in the intervening 100 years: patterns of language disorder resulting from neurodegenerative diseases that have a relatively focal impact on brain systems. Two distinctly different patterns of progressive aphasia have been identified, labelled “fluent” and “nonfluent” to reflect the characteristics of the patients’ spontaneous speech. This paper reviews some of the implications of these two forms of progressive aphasia for language representation in the brain, with a focus on speech production.