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Eur J Radiol. 2005 Aug;55(2):209-18. Epub 2004 Dec 15.

Evaluating fMRI methods for assessing hemispheric language dominance in healthy subjects.

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Laboratoire de Psychologie et NeuroCognition, UMR 5105 CNRS, Université Pierre Mendès-France, F38040 Grenoble Cedex 09, France.


We evaluated two methods for quantifying the hemispheric language dominance in healthy subjects, by using a rhyme detection (deciding whether couple of words rhyme) and a word fluency (generating words starting with a given letter) task. One of methods called "flip method" (FM) was based on the direct statistical comparison between hemispheres' activity. The second one, the classical lateralization indices method (LIM), was based on calculating lateralization indices by taking into account the number of activated pixels within hemispheres. The main difference between methods is the statistical assessment of the inter-hemispheric difference: while FM shows if the difference between hemispheres' activity is statistically significant, LIM shows only that if there is a difference between hemispheres. The robustness of LIM and FM was assessed by calculating correlation coefficients between LIs obtained with each of these methods and manual lateralization indices MLI obtained with Edinburgh inventory. Our results showed significant correlation between LIs provided by each method and the MIL, suggesting that both methods are robust for quantifying hemispheric dominance for language in healthy subjects. In the present study we also evaluated the effect of spatial normalization, smoothing and "clustering" (NSC) on the intra-hemispheric location of activated regions and inter-hemispheric asymmetry of the activation. Our results have shown that NSC did not affect the hemispheric specialization but increased the value of the inter-hemispheric difference.

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