Developmental Dynamic Dysphasia: Are Bilateral Brain Abnormalities a Signature of Inefficient Neural Plasticity?

Marcelo L. Berthier, Guadalupe Dávila, María José Torres-Prioris, Ignacio Moreno-Torres, Jordi Clarimón, Oriol Dols-Icardo, María J. Postigo, Victoria Fernández, Lisa Edelkraut, Lorena Moreno-Campos, Diana Molina-Sánchez, Paloma Solo de Zaldivar, Diana López-Barroso

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The acquisition and evolution of speech production, discourse and communication can be negatively impacted by brain malformations. We describe, for the first time, a case of developmental dynamic dysphasia (DDD) in a right-handed adolescent boy (subject D) with cortical malformations involving language-eloquent regions (inferior frontal gyrus) in both the left and the right hemispheres. Language evaluation revealed a markedly reduced verbal output affecting phonemic and semantic fluency, phrase and sentence generation and verbal communication in everyday life. Auditory comprehension, repetition, naming, reading and spelling were relatively preserved, but executive function was impaired. Multimodal neuroimaging showed a malformed cerebral cortex with atypical configuration and placement of white matter tracts bilaterally and abnormal callosal fibers. Dichotic listening showed right hemisphere dominance for language, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) additionally revealed dissociated hemispheric language representation with right frontal activation for phonology and bilateral dominance for semantic processing. Moreover, subject D also had congenital mirror movements (CMM), defined as involuntary movements of one side of the body that mirror intentional movements of the other side. Transcranial magnetic stimulation and fMRI during voluntary unimanual (left and right) hand movements showed bilateral motor cortex recruitment and tractography revealed a lack of decussation of bilateral corticospinal tracts. Genetic testing aimed to detect mutations that disrupt the development of commissural tracts correlating with CMM (e.g., Germline DCC mutations) was negative. Overall, our findings suggest that DDD in subject D resulted from the underdevelopment of the left inferior frontal gyrus with limited capacity for plastic reorganization by its homologous counterpart in the right hemisphere. Corpus callosum anomalies probably contributed to hinder interhemispheric connectivity necessary to compensate language and communication deficits after left frontal involvement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number73
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - Mar 24 2020


  • brain stimulation
  • congenital mirror movements
  • developmental cerebral anomalies
  • dynamic aphasia
  • neuroimaging


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