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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1997 Aug;169(2):575-9.

Localization of language cortices by functional MR imaging compared with intracarotid amobarbital hemispheric sedation.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.



We undertook this study to investigate functional MR imaging as a new clinical method for determining hemispheric language dominance. Seven patients undergoing surgical evaluation for chronic intractable epilepsy were studied. Intracarotid amobarbital injection was also performed and the findings compared with the functional MR imaging results.


Functional MR imaging studies enabled localization of the frontal and temporal lobe language cortices. The results of functional MR imaging and intracarotid amobarbital testing of hemispheric language dominance agreed in all seven patients, including two right-handed patients with right-hemisphere language dominance. These preliminary results show that functional MR imaging is an accurate noninvasive method of determining language dominance that may replace the amobarbital test for some purposes if confirmed by additional research.

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