Pure word deafness following left temporal damage: Behavioral and neuroanatomical evidence from a new case.

Cesare Colosimo, Francesca Dell'Acqua, Francesca Piludu, Gabriele Miceli, Chiara Maffei, Rita Capasso, Giulia Cazzolli, Flavio Dell'Acqua, Marco Catani

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

11 Citazioni (Scopus)


Pure Word Deafness (PWD) is a rare disorder, characterized by selective loss of speech input processing. Its most common cause is temporal damage to the primary auditory cortex of both hemispheres, but it has been reported also following unilateral lesions. In unilateral cases, PWD has been attributed to the disconnection of Wernicke's area from both right and left primary auditory cortex. Here we report behavioral and neuroimaging evidence from a new case of left unilateral PWD with both cortical and white matter damage due to a relatively small stroke lesion in the left temporal gyrus. Selective impairment in auditory language processing was accompanied by intact processing of nonspeech sounds and normal speech, reading and writing. Performance on dichotic listening was characterized by a reversal of the right-ear advantage typically observed in healthy subjects. Cortical thickness and gyral volume were severely reduced in the left superior temporal gyrus (STG), although abnormalities were not uniformly distributed and residual intact cortical areas were detected, for example in the medial portion of the Heschl's gyrus. Diffusion tractography documented partial damage to the acoustic radiations (AR), callosal temporal connections and intralobar tracts dedicated to single words comprehension. Behavioral and neuroimaging results in this case are difficult to integrate in a pure cortical or disconnection framework, as damage to primary auditory cortex in the left STG was only partial and Wernicke's area was not completely isolated from left or right-hemisphere input. On the basis of our findings we suggest that in this case of PWD, concurrent partial topological (cortical) and disconnection mechanisms have contributed to a selective impairment of speech sounds. The discrepancy between speech and non-speech sounds suggests selective damage to a language-specific left lateralized network involved in phoneme processing.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)240-254
Numero di pagine15
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2017


  • Cortical auditory disorders
  • Diffusion tractography
  • Disconnection syndrome
  • Left temporal damage
  • Pure word deafness

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