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Communication ability in non-right handers following right hemisphere stroke

Mackenzie, Catherine and Brady, Marian (2004) Communication ability in non-right handers following right hemisphere stroke. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 17 (4). pp. 301-313. ISSN 0911-6044

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Communication ability following right brain damage (RBD) has been frequently investigated, but almost exclusively in the right handed (R) population and where non-right handers (NRs) have been studied their inclusion has been motivated by the presence of aphasia. Communication assessment, covering aspects of spoken discourse and comprehension, which in Rs are sensitive to the effects of RBD, was carried out on five NR adults 3 months after right hemisphere stroke. Performance was compared to matched R stroke participants (n=9) and non-brain damaged (NBD) participants (n=20). On all communication measures there was remarkable similarity between the scores of the R and NR RBD groups. Both stroke groups were significantly impaired in comparison with the NBD group in inference comprehension and in non-verbal conversational parameters. The RBDNR group was less efficient than the NBD group in conveying relevant picture description content and a similar trend was present for the RBDR group. The RBDR group scored significantly below the NBD group in tests of discourse and metaphor comprehension. Future research involving NRs should examine communication difficulties within a broad context of functions to inform the relationship between language and other presumed lateralised higher functions.