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Neuroradiology. 2004 Jun;46(6):413-20. Epub 2004 May 1.

MRI language dominance assessment in epilepsy patients at 1.0 T: region of interest analysis and comparison with intracarotid amytal testing.

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Department of Neuroradiology, Ghent University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, 9000, Ghent, Belgium.


The primary goal of this study was to test the reliability of presurgical language lateralization in epilepsy patients with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with a 1.0-T MR scanner using a simple word generation paradigm and conventional equipment. In addition, hemispherical fMRI language lateralization analysis and region of interest (ROI) analysis in the frontal and temporo-parietal regions were compared with the intracarotid amytal test (IAT). Twenty epilepsy patients under presurgical evaluation were prospectively examined by both fMRI and IAT. The fMRI experiment consisted of a word chain task (WCT) using the conventional headphone set and a sparse sequence. In 17 of the 20 patients, data were available for comparison between the two procedures. Fifteen of these 17 patients were categorized as left hemispheric dominant, and 2 patients demonstrated bilateral language representation by both fMRI and IAT. The highest reliability for lateralization was obtained using frontal ROI analysis. Hemispherical analysis was less powerful and reliable in all cases but one, while temporo-parietal ROI analysis was unreliable as a stand-alone analysis when compared with IAT. The effect of statistical threshold on language lateralization prompted for the use of t-value-dependent lateralization index plots. This study illustrates that fMRI-determined language lateralization can be performed reliably in a clinical MR setting operating at a low field strength of 1 T without expensive stimulus presentation systems.

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