Summary The aim of the present project is to study the extent of cortical damage. neuronal reorganization and recovery function following left hemisphere infarction or trauma leading to aphasia. In order to pursue these objectives a set of non-invasive new tools, resulting from the integration of traditional brain mapping techniques with precise magnetic and electric source imaging methods, will be implemented. Thus, multi-channel Magneto encephalography (MEG) and Electroencephalography (EEG) will support Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computer Aided Tomography (CAT) with information relative to normal and abnormal electrical activity in the functional, and not only anatomical, boundaries of the lesion. It is expected that these tools, in addition to a more precise diagnostic assessment, would allow the follow-up of mental recovery in aphasic patients. This would be performed by using assisted training, in which functional recovery (measured by traditional neuropsychological tests) is correlated with the extent of cortical activation of the lesioned areas, or substitution of original functions by other areas (e.g. right fronto-temporal structures).
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The training will allow the applicant to learn an innovative methodology to assess the extent of the functional deficit following cortical damage. But it also will allow to follow and help recovery of function in compensatory brain areas of the aphasic patients. This methodology could be extended and applied to any other cortical lesion. Furthermore the precise electrical source of cortical activity can be measured also by means of Electroencephalographic traditional equipment. Nowadays any modern hospital owns both the MRI and EEG equipment. In order to import the described new approach in Italy, the main requirement is therefore represented by human expertise (that is training for the use of specific software, the setting of new paradigms, etc.). The actual relevance of this growing field in both the clinical diagnosis and the rehabilitative training of the brain lesioned patients increases its future potentiality within the neurosciences and it would significantly increase the scientific know-how developed within the italian clinical / research institutions.