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Functional MRI measurement of language Lateralization in Wada-tested patients

J. E. Desmond, J. M. Sum, A. D. Wagner, J. B. Demb, P. K. Shear, G. H. Glover, J. D. E. Gabrieli, M. J. Morrell
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/118.6.1411 1411-1419 First published online: 1 December 1995


Summary In this study the use of functional MRI (fMRI) for measuring language lateralization non-invasively was examined. The subjects were seven patients with histories of temporal lobe epilepsy who had undergone Wada resting for pre-surgical evaluation. Four patients were left-hemisphere-dominant and three were right-hemisphere-dominant for language. They received fMRI scans while they made semantic or perceptual judgments about visually presented words. Regions of the inferior frontal gyrus (pars triangularis and pars orbitalis) and neighbouring orbital cortex, corresponding to portions of Brodmann areas 45, 46 and 47, exhibited significant increases in activation during semantic relative to perceptual judgments. Lateralization of the increases in activation were consistent with the Wada test assessments of hemispheric language dominance in each of the seven patients. These results suggest that, in addition to providing a tool for investigating human cognitive processes, fMRI has significant clinical potential as a non-invasive measure of language laterlization.

  • language lateralization
  • functional MRI
  • Wada test
  • epilepsy
  • hemispheric dominance