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Thalamus and language: interface with attention, memory and executive functions

Author(s): Radanovic Marcia | Azambuja Mariana | Mansur Letícia Lessa | Porto Cláudia Sellitto | Scaff Milberto

Journal: Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria
ISSN 0004-282X

Volume: 61;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 34;
Date: 2003;
Original page

Keywords: thalamus | language | attention | memory | prefrontal cortex

Subcortical structures are in a strategic functional position within the cognitive networks. Their lesion can interfere with a great number of functions. We studied six patients with thalamic vascular lesions (three left sided, two right sided and one bilateral), to characterize their repercussion in the communicative abilities and the interface between language alterations and other cognitive abilities, as attention, memory and frontal executive. All patients were evaluated through a functional interview (discourse analysis), and the following batteries: Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination, Boston Naming Test, Token Test, Benton Visual Retention Test, Trail Making, Wisconsin Card Sorting and frontal scripts. All patients performed MRI and five underwent SPECT. Results show that these patients present impairment in several cognitive domains, especially attention and executive functions (working memory, planning and self-monitoring); those with right lesions have an additional visuospatial impairment. Such alterations interfere with language abilities, and this fact must be considered in the rehabilitation efforts.
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