To understand language, children from an early age use both hemispheres of their brain, whereas for the same task almost all adults use only one, the left one. To arrive at these conclusions, a team from Georgetown University Medical Center (USA) followed by functional MRI the brain activity of 39 children and 14 adults subjected to a task of comprehension of spoken sentences. By comparing the language activation maps of the four constituted age groups (4-6, 7-9, 10-13 and 18-29 years), the researchers found that the activation of the language zone in the The right hemisphere (colored area on the images, lower line) decreases with age and disappears in older people. “This cerebral dynamic of a left hemispherical lateralization of language more and more marked over the course of development is particularly interesting, because we knew since the work of the team of Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz that this left lateralization is present from age. 3 months’, comments neurologist Lionel Naccache. Posted on September 7, 2020 in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), this study could be one of the keys to understanding the compensatory power of certain young children, such as those born with cerebral palsy which damages one hemisphere and can develop cognitive capacities in the other.
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