Carnegie Mellon University
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The Evolution of Pure Alexia: A Longitudinal Study of Recovery

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journal contribution
posted on 1990-01-01, 00:00 authored by Marlene Behrmann, S. E. Black, D. Bub
This case report documents the partial recovery, over a 1Zmonth period, of pure alexia in an adult female following a left occipital infarction. Measures of speed and accuracy were obtained on an oral reading and a lexical decision task immediately postonset and then on 10 subsequent occasions. Explicit letter-byletter reading was observed only during the first week poststroke but a significant effect of word length was seen in all testing sessions. Reading accuracy was relatively good at all stages and reading latency showed a remarkable decrease over time but did not reach normal reading rates. The inability to use higherorder orthographic knowledge, as manifest in the absence of a word superiority effect, was still noted at one year postonset. We therefore concluded that the change in behavior was attributable to increased proficiency in the use of the adaptive letter-by-letter procedure rather than to the resolution of the underlying deficit. It is suggested that longitudinal neurobehavioral studies add to our understanding of the alexic deficit and provide insight into the recovery process.




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