Atrás Ponente invitad@: Maaike Vandermosten. Testing the role of hippocampus for language learning in developmental dyslexia and stroke-induced aphasia

Maaike Vandermosten. Testing the role of hippocampus for language learning in developmental dyslexia and stroke-induced aphasia

29/9/2022
- BCBL auditorium (and BCBL zoom room 2)

What: Testing the role of hippocampus for language learning in developmental dyslexia and stroke-induced aphasia

Where:  BCBL Auditorium and zoom room 2. (If you would like to attend to this meeting reserve at info@bcbl.eu)

Who: Maaike Vandermosten, PhD, Tenure-track Professor, Department of Neurosciences, KU Leuven, Belgium

When:  Thursday,  September 29th at 4:00 PM.

Humans are not born with a fully developed language system, but rely on an essential and life-long capacity to learn, enabling the acquisition and finetuning of oral and written language abilities. Hippocampus has been suggested to be associated with an individual's learning potential, including statistical learning. The latter refers to a set of mechanisms upon which we rely heavily in daily life to learn a range of regularities across cognitive domains. Given that developmental dyslexia is a learning disability, children’s reading impairment might be partially explained by a poorer functioning learning system. This is to some extent supported by studies showing poorer statistical learning abilities in dyslexia, but large-scale studies investigating the role of the hippocampus have been missing. In patients with stroke-induced language impairments (aphasia) the hippocampus is often spared, hence their learning ability can be a protective factor to re-learn language. However, no study has investigated whether individual differences in statistical learning and hippocampus predict the degree of language recovery in persons with aphasia. Against this background, we acquired structural MRI to investigate hippocampus (1) in 160 children during the first 2 years of learning to read (i.e., from kindergarten to grade 2), and (2) in 50 patients with aphasia during the first year after stroke. I will present results on the predictive role of hippocampal volume to later language abilities in these two populations as well as explore the relation with statistical learning abilities. I will also discuss the clinical implications for early prediction and for interventions.