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J Clin Neurophysiol. 2007 Jun;24(3):286-93.

Individual variation in human motor-sensory (rolandic) cortex.

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Department of Neurology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Eloquent cortex is generally identified using a variety of techniques including direct electrical stimulation to identify motor-sensory, language, and memory cortex and somatosensory evoked potentials to identify motor-sensory cortex. It is important that these areas of cortex be identified so as to prevent damage during the course of neurosurgical procedures. Seventy epilepsy patients undergoing evaluation for epilepsy surgery with chronically implanted subdural grids were retrospectively studied using both somatosensory evoked potentials and direct electrical stimulation. Direct electrical stimulation of motor-sensory cortex elicited responses over a larger area than did somatosensory evoked potentials. A great deal of individual variation was identified using both techniques. The results presented here support previous conclusions that the concept of homunculus somatotopy (point to point representation) of the motor-sensory cortex be abandoned and that of functional mosaicism of the motor-sensory cortex replace the earlier model. The individual variation found in the human motor-sensory cortex will require a continuation of "brain mapping" to identify eloquent cortex so that these vital areas will be spared during neocortical neurosurgical procedures.

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