Thompson, Cynthia, PhD

Information

Name

Thompson, Cynthia, PhD

Title

Professor

Email

ckthom@northwestern.edu

Office Phone

847-491-2421

Office Fax

847-467-2774

Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders; Ralph and Jean Sundin Professor in Communication Sciences Aphasia and Neurolinguistic Research Laboratory

Office

Frances Searle 3-363 Evanston

NU Scholar Profile

https://northwestern.pure.elsevier.com/en/persons/a4b1eb4e-4efc-43f1-8270-64d22f9e58e4

Recent Publications on PubMed

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Thompson%2C%20Cynthia%5BFull%20Author%20Name%5D&cmd=DetailsSearch

Current Research

Current Research

Dr. Thompson's research is in the area of neurolinguistics, examining lexical and syntactic processing and production abilities in normal and aphasic individuals. Data from this work are used to further understanding of the nature of aphasic deficits and provide data for developing accounts of normal sentence processing and production and their neural correlates. One major project is concerned with recovery of complex sentence processing in aphasia. Individuals with agrammatic (BrocaÍs) aphasia are provided with experimental treatment to improve their sentence processing and production ability. The treatment is based on theoretical linguistics as well as findings from psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic research. Recovery of trained and untrained sentences, controlled for lexical and syntactic properties, is charted throughout the treatment period. Results have shown a similar time course for recovery of linguistically related structures, reflecting recovery of neural networks subserving certain language functions. This work is supported by the National Institutes of Health R01DC 01948 Æ 01-09.
The neurobiology of recovery of language in aphasia also is being addressed using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). FMRI studies of lexical and syntactic processing are undertaken prior to and following recovery of specific linguistic processes in aphasic subjects. Areas of significant activation derived in pre-treatment scans are compared to those following treatment. The neural correlates of lexical and syntactic processing in normal subjects also are examined in the Aphasia and Neurolinguistic Research Lab. This work is supported by the McDonnell-Pew Foundation Program for Neuroscience. Dr. Thompson also is engaged in work examining the decline of lexical and syntactic aspects of language in individuals with dementia — specifically Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA), a progressive language deficit of unknown etiology.
Recent Abstracts
<strong>NEURAL CORRELATES OF SYNTACTIC COMPREHENSION: A FUNCTIONAL MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING STUDY. C.K. Thompson, S.C. Fix, D.R. Gitelman, K.S. LaBar, T.R. Parrish, & M.-M. Mesulam. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL</strong>
In the present fMRI study, participants (n=8, R-handed, English speakers) matched auditory sentences of two types, either simple subject-clefts (e.g., The student lifted the biker) or complex object-clefts (e.g., It was the biker who the student lifted), to pictures. Subjects responded by button press to matches and reaction times were recorded. Thirty-two contiguous 4-mm axial slices were obtained relative to the AC-PC line using whole-brain echo-planar imaging. Images were motion-corrected and normalized onto a common stereotactic space using SPM96. Comparing complex with simple sentence processing revealed activation in the left hemisphere only, including BrocaÍs area (BA 44), dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (BA 9), WernickeÍs area, including posterior superior and middle temporal gyri (BA 22, 21), and the angular gyrus (BA 39). These findings suggest that complex syntactic processing engages both WernickeÍs and BrocaÍs areas. They also are consistent with numerous focal lesion and funcitonal imaging studies which have whon that the syntactic and semantic aspects of language are subserved by a large-scale network of interconnected temporal and frontal areas. (Supported by McDonnell-Pew Foundation (CKT) and NIH grants DC01948 (CKT) , NS30863 (MMM).

Figure 1. SPM image (lateral) showing areas of significant activation during complex object cleft as compared to subject cleft sentence processing. Blue = areas of significant activation under object cleft sentence condition; red = areas of significant activation under subject cleft conditions; green = areas of significant activation under both sentence conditions.

<strong>THE NEUROBIOLOGY OF RECOVERED SENTENCE PROCESSING ABILITY IN APHASIA: RECRUITMENT OF RIGHT HEMISPHERE HOMOLOUGES OF BROCAÍS AND WERNICKEÍS AREAS. C.K. Thompson, S.C. Fix, D.R. Gitelman, T.R. Parrish, & M.-M. Mesulam. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL</strong>
Studies of recovery in aphasia suggest recruitment of spared left-hemisphere and/or homologous right-hemisphere areas for general language function (Heiss et al., 1999; Weiller, 1995). However, few studies have examined neural correlates of recovery of specific language functions. In this study, a 52-y.o., right-handed, neurologically stable patient with agrammatic aphasia secondary to a single left MCA stroke underwent a 32-week treatment program which improved production and comprehension of syntactically complex sentences. Pre- and post-treatment fMRI sentence-processing studies were completed, requiring matching pictures, via button press, with auditorily presented subject-clefts (e.g., It was the student who lifted the biker) and complex object-clefts (e.g., It was the biker who the student lifted). Thirty-two contiguous 4-mm axial slices were obtained relative to the AC-PC line using whole-brain echo-planar imaging. Images were motion-corrected and normalized onto a common stereotactic space using SPM96. Pre-treatment comparison of sentence processing conditions and a single-word control condition revealed limited activation in the right-homologue of WernickeÍs area (BA 22) and BA 46. Following treatment, increased activation in right-homologues of BrocaÍs area (BA 44, 45), WernickeÍs area and adjacent cortex (BA 22, 21, 37) was noted. These changes were associated with marked improvement in scanner task performance and behavioral testing. These preliminary studies provide further insight into the potential physiological bases of treatment-induced recovery from aphasia. (Supported by McDonnell-Pew Foundation (CKT); NIH grants DC01948 (CKT), NS30863 (MMM).

Figure 2. SPM image (axial slices) showing areas of significant activation during sentence processing before and after patient underwent treatment.