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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 1996 Mar;17(3):473-7.

Use of functional MR to map language in multilingual volunteers.

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Department of Radiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53226, USA.



To use functional MR imaging to compare brain activation during processing of languages in which multilingual volunteers are fluent with brain activation during processing of languages in which they are not fluent.


Echoplanar images were obtained for five right-handed male multilingual subjects who performed a language task in three languages, one of which was a language in which the subject was not fluent. The functional MR technique included echoplanar images obtained at 1 per second during cycles of rest and performance of the task, from which functional images were processed by means of cross-correlation analysis. The numbers of active pixels in each volunteer and for each language were compared.


Activation was noted in the left frontal lobe in all subjects performing language tasks. In each subject, the number of activated pixels was greatest for the language in which the subject was least fluent.


Functional MR imaging shows differences in the processing of different languages in multilingual volunteer subjects, depending on the level of fluency in the language, and it is an effective functional imaging method for studying the processing of different languages.

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