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J Neurosurg. 2000 Oct;93(4):676-81.

Optical imaging of bilingual cortical representations. Case report.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, USA.


The organization of language in the brains of multilingual persons remains controversial. The authors investigated language representations in a proficient bilingual patient by using a novel neuroimaging technique, intraoperative optical imaging of intrinsic signals (iOIS), and a visual object naming task. The results indicate that there are cortical areas that are activated by the use of both English and Spanish languages (superior temporal sulcus, superior and middle temporal gyri, and parts of the supramarginal gyrus). In addition, language-specific areas were identified in the supramarginal (Spanish) and precentral (English) gyri. These results suggest that cortical language representations in bilingual persons may consist of both overlapping and distinct components. Furthermore, this study demonstrates the utility of iOIS in detecting topographical segregation of cognitively distinct cortices.

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