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Electrophysiological methods have been used to study the temporal sequence of syntactic and semantic processing during sentence comprehension. Two responses associated with syntactic violations are the left anterior negativity (LAN) and the P600. A response to semantic violation is the N400. Although the sources of the N400 response have been identified in the left (and right) temporal lobe, the neural signatures of the LAN and P600 have not been revealed. The present study used magnetoencephalography to localize sources of syntactic and semantic activation in Finnish sentence reading. Participants were presented with sentences that ended in normally inf lected nouns, nouns in an unacceptable case, verbs instead of nouns, or nouns that were correctly inflected but made no sense in the context. Around 400 msec, semantically anomalous last words evoked strong activation in the left superior temporal lobe with significant activation also for word class errors (N400). Weaker activation was seen for the semantic errors in the right hemisphere. Later, 600-800 msec after word onset, the strongest activation was seen to word class and morphosyntactic errors (P600). Activation was significantly weaker to semantically anomalous and correct words. The P600 syntactic activation was localized to bilateral sources in the temporal lobe, posterior to the N400 sources. The results suggest that the same general region of the superior temporal cortex gives rise to both LAN and N400 with bilateral reactivity to semantic manipulation and a left hemisphere effect to syntactic manipulation. The bilateral P600 response was sensitive to syntactic but not semantic factors.
VISION SYSTEMS PHYSIOLOGY
Henriksson L, Raninen A, Näsänen R, Hyvärinen L, and Vanni S: Training-induced cortical representation of a hemianopic hemifield. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2007, 78: 74–81.
BACKGROUND: Patients with homonymous hemianopia often have some residual sensitivity for visual stimuli in their blind hemifield. Previous imaging studies suggest an important role for extrastriate cortical areas in such residual vision, but results of training to improve vision in patients with hemianopia are conflicting. OBJECTIVE: To show that intensive training with flicker stimulation in the chronic stage of stroke can reorganise visual cortices of an adult patient. METHODS: A 61-year-old patient with homonymous hemianopia was trained with flicker stimulation, starting 22 months after stroke. Changes in functioning during training were documented with magnetoencephalography, and the cortical organisation after training was examined with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). RESULTS: Both imaging methods showed that, after training, visual information from both hemifields was processed mainly in the intact hemisphere. The fMRI mapping results showed the representations of both the blind and the normal hemifield in the same set of cortical areas in the intact hemisphere, more specifically in the visual motion-sensitive area V5, in a region around the superior temporal sulcus and in retinotopic visual areas V1 (primary visual cortex), V2, V3 and V3a. CONCLUSIONS: Intensive training of a blind hemifield can induce cortical reorganisation in an adult patient, and this case shows an ipsilateral representation of the trained visual hemifield in several cortical areas, including the primary visual cortex.
Raninen A, Vanni S, Hyvärinen L, and Näsänen R: Temporal sensitivity in hemianopic visual field can be improved by long-term training using flicker stimulation. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2007, 78: 66–73.
Annual Report 2007