Vol 45, No 6 (2011)

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Neuropsychological assessment of language functions during functional magnetic resonance imaging — development of new tasks. Preliminary report

Ewa Fersten1, Maciej Jakuciński2, Radosław Kuliński2, Henryk Koziara3, Barbara Mroziak4, Paweł Nauman3
DOI: 10.1016/S0028-3843(14)60124-9
Neurol Neurochir Pol 2011;45(6):567-576.


Background and purpose

Due to the complex and extended cerebral organization of language functions, the brain regions crucial for speech and language, i.e. eloquent areas, have to be affected by neurooncological surgery. One of the techniques that may be helpful in pre-operative planning of the extent of tumour removal and estimating possible complications seems to be functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The aim of the study was to develop valid procedures for neuropsychological assessment of various language functions visualisable by fMRI in healthy individuals.

Material and methods

In this fMRI study, 10 healthy (with no CNS pathology), right-handed volunteers aged 25–35 were examined using four tasks designed to measure different language functions, and one for short-term memory assessment. A 1.5-T MRI scanner performing ultrafast functional (EPI) sequences with 4-mm slice thickness and 1-mm interslice gap was used to detect the BOLD response to stimuli presented in a block design (30-second alternating blocks of activity and rest). The analyses used the SPM software running in a MATLAB environment, and the obtained data were interpreted by means of colour-coded maps superimposed on structural brain scans.


For each of the tasks developed for particular language functions, a different area of increased neuronal activity was found.


The differential localization of function-related neuronal activity seems interesting and the research worth continuing, since verbal communication failure may result from impairment of any of various language functions, and studies reported in the literature seem to focus on verbal expression only.

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Neurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska