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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Aug;87(4-5):469-73. Epub 2002 Jul 5.

Handedness and language cerebral lateralization.

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Department of Neurology, The University Hospital, Assiut, Egypt.


Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) induces lateralized speech arrest consistent with cerebral dominance for language. Studies of language cerebral dominance in differently handed healthy subjects have been limited. Using a focal magnetic coil, we examined the degree of consistency between handedness as evaluated by the Stanley Coren Score and hemispheric dominance for language as determined by rTMS in 25 right- and 25 left-handed medical students. They were categorized according to the score into 24 strongly right-handed, 1 moderately right-handed, 19 strongly left-handed, 3 moderately left-handed and 3 ambidextrous (equally-handed). In the strongly right-handed subjects, left-sided language cerebral dominance was recorded in 87.5% of the subjects, and bilateral cerebral representation in 8.2%, and right-sided language cerebral dominance in 4.2%. In the strongly left-handed subjects, 73.7% had left-side language cerebral dominance, 15.8% had bilateral cerebral representation and 10.5% had right-side cerebral language dominance. In mixed handed subjects (moderately right, left and ambidextrous), bilateral cerebral representation was observed in 57% and left-side cerebral language dominance in 43%. There were 27 subjects who developed speech arrest at 140% of motor threshold, the others developed speech arrest at lower intensities. Speech lateralized to the left-side cerebral dominance in strongly right- and left-handed subjects, but bilateral cerebral representation was frequent in mixed handedness and right-sided cerebral dominance rarely occurred.

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