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Neurology. 2000 Apr 25;54(8):1625-33.

Functional MR evaluation of temporal and frontal language dominance compared with the Wada test.

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  • 1Departments of Neurology, Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, Paris, France.



To evaluate the reliability of temporal and frontal functional MRI (fMRI) activation for the assessment of language dominance, as compared with the Wada test.


Ten patients with temporal lobe epilepsy were studied using blood oxygen level dependent fMRI and echoplanar imaging (1.5-T). Three tasks were used: semantic verbal fluency, covert sentence repetition, and story listening. Data were analyzed using pixel by pixel autocorrelation and cross-correlation. fMRI laterality indices were defined for several regions of interest as the ratio (L - R)/(L + R), L being the number of activated voxels in the left hemisphere and R in the right hemisphere. Wada laterality indices were defined as the difference in the percentages of errors in language tests between left and right carotid injections.


Semantic verbal fluency: The asymmetry of frontal activation was correlated with Wada laterality indices. The strongest correlation was observed in the precentral/middle frontal gyrus/inferior frontal sulcus area. Story listening: The asymmetry of frontal, but not temporal, activation was correlated with Wada laterality indices. Covert sentence repetition: No correlation was observed.


There was a good congruence between hemispheric dominance for language as assessed with the Wada test and fMRI laterality indices in the frontal but not in the temporal lobes. The story listening and the covert sentence repetition tasks increased the sensitivity of detection of posterior language sites that may be useful for brain lesion surgery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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