ASA 128th Meeting - Austin, Texas - 1994 Nov 28 .. Dec 02

3aPP6. Processing of nonlinguistic auditory stimuli in Landau--Kleffner Syndrome: A case study.

Clifton Kussmaul

Kathleen Baynes

Ctr. for Neurosci., Univ. of California, Davis, CA 95616

Judy Kegl

Rutgers Univ., Newark, NJ 07102

``Acquired aphasia with convulsive disorder'' or Landau--Kleffner Syndrome (LKS) was first described in 1957 [W. M. Landau and F. R. Kleffner, Neurology 7, 523--530 (1957)]. This language disorder typically manifests as a decline in verbal expression and comprehension in children who had been developing normally. EEG is always abnormal, although clinical seizures are not always observed. This report presents a 26-yr-old right-handed female who was diagnosed with LKS at age 4 with an abnormal EEG and seizure activity. Her EEG, MRI, and audiogram are now normal, but PET demonstrates bilateral temporal lobe hypometabolism. A detailed linguistic comparison of her limited spoken English and relatively good signed English is reported elsewhere [K. Baynes et al., Int. Neuropsychol. Soc. (submitted)]. Interestingly, she listens to and enjoys several types of music. This discrepancy motivates our initial investigation of her ability to perform nonlinguistic auditory tasks. Despite easy recognition of environmental sounds, discrimination thresholds of pitch and rhythm are greatly exaggerated. Such data can clarify which brain processes are specific to language, and which correspond to more general auditory or hierarchical processing. [Work supported by NIH.]