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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2005 Oct;26(9):2248-55.

The influence of gender on auditory and language cortical activation patterns: preliminary data.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.



Intersex cortical and functional asymmetry is an ongoing topic of investigation. In this pilot study, we sought to determine the influence of acoustic scanner noise and sex on auditory and language cortical activation patterns of the dominant hemisphere.


Echoplanar functional MR imaging (fMRI; 1.5T) was performed on 12 healthy right-handed subjects (6 men and 6 women). Passive text listening tasks were employed in 2 different background acoustic scanner noise conditions (12 sections/2 seconds TR [6 Hz] and 4 sections/2 seconds TR [2 Hz]), with the first 4 sections in identical locations in the left hemisphere. Cross-correlation analysis was used to construct activation maps in subregions of auditory and language relevant cortex of the dominant (left) hemisphere, and activation areas were calculated by using coefficient thresholds of 0.5, 0.6, and 0.7.


Text listening caused robust activation in anatomically defined auditory cortex, and weaker activation in language relevant cortex of all 12 individuals. As a whole, there was no significant difference in regional cortical activation between the 2 background acoustic scanner noise conditions. When sex was considered, men showed a significantly (P < .01) greater change in left hemisphere activation during the high scanner noise rate condition than did women. This effect was significant (P < .05) in the left superior temporal gyrus, the posterior aspect of the left middle temporal gyrus and superior temporal sulcus, and the left inferior frontal gyrus.


Increase in the rate of background acoustic scanner noise caused increased activation in auditory and language relevant cortex of the dominant hemisphere in men compared with women where no such change in activation was observed. Our preliminary data suggest possible methodologic confounds of fMRI research and calls for larger investigations to substantiate our findings and further characterize sex-based influences on hemispheric activation patterns.

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