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Epilepsy Behav. 2008 Aug;13(2):350-6. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2008.04.010. Epub 2008 May 27.

Functional MRI and Wada studies in patients with interhemispheric dissociation of language functions.

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Department of Neurology and Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.


Rare patients with chronic epilepsy show interhemispheric dissociation of language functions on intracarotid amobarbital (Wada) testing. We encountered four patients with interhemispheric dissociation in 490 consecutive Wada language tests. In all cases, performance on overt speech production tasks was supported by the hemisphere contralateral to the seizure focus, whereas performance on comprehension tasks was served by the hemisphere with the seizure focus. These data suggest that speech production capacity is more likely to shift hemispheres than is language comprehension. Wada and fMRI language lateralization scores were discordant in three of the four patients. However, the two methods aligned more closely when Wada measures loading on comprehension were used to calculate lateralization scores. Thus, interhemispheric dissociation of language functions could explain some cases of discordance on Wada/fMRI language comparisons, particularly when the fMRI measure used is not sensitive to speech production processes.

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