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Neurosci Res. 2012 Aug;73(4):328-32. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2012.05.013. Epub 2012 Jun 12.

Functional near-infrared spectroscopy reveals heterogeneous patterns of language lateralization over frontopolar cortex.

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  • 1Department of Health Sciences, University of L'Aquila, Via Vetoio, 67100 L'Aquila, Italy.


Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), a non-invasive neuroimaging optical technique which measures the cortical concentration changes in oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin (O(2)Hb and HHb, respectively), has been extensively utilized in language studies. Most of these studies investigated the ventrolateral/dorsolateral cortex responses, while few language studies on the frontopolar cortex are reported. The aim of this study was to investigate by fNIRS the frontopolar cortex response to a letter verbal fluency task (VFT) in single healthy subjects to better understand the symmetry/asymmetry of language processing. The O(2)Hb and HHb changes were measured on 33 University students by a 8-channel fNIRS system. A significant increase in O(2)Hb (p<0.001), accompanied by a smaller significant decrease in HHb (p<0.001), was observed in each measurement point. However, the laterality index of 21 out of the 33 subjects evidenced a hemispheric dominance (right 9, left 12). Although these results have confirmed a bilateral activation over the frontopolar cortex upon VFT, no clear pattern of lateralization was found. Considering the importance of establishing a response pattern related to cognitive functions in clinical populations, the fNIRS investigation of the frontopolar cortex (and other areas involved in language) in single subject and the use of the laterality index are recommended.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd and the Japan Neuroscience Society. All rights reserved.

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