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Functional MRI Localization of Language in a 9-Year-Old Child

     RR Benson, WJ Logan, GR Cosgrove, AJ Cole, H Jiang, LL LeSueur, BR Buchbinder, BR Rosen and VS Caviness, Jr

Abstract:   Background: Localizing critical brain functions such as language in children is difficult and generally requires invasive techniques. Recently sensory, motor and language functions in adults have been mapped to specific brain locations using functional imaging techniques. Of these techniques, functional MRI (fMRI) is the least invasive and has the highest spatial and temporal resolution. Its use in adults is well documented but application to children has not been as well described. In the present study lateralization and localization of language was evaluated with fMRI prior to epilepsy surgery in a nine-year-old male with complex partial seizures, attentional difficulty and decreased verbal proficiency. Methods: Two language paradigms well studied in adults (read, verb generation) and two additional language paradigms (antonym generation, letter fluency) were studied using whole brain fMRI after stimulus items and timing were adjusted to achieve the desired performance level during imaging. The patient was also conditioned to the magnet environment prior to imaging. Results: Word reading and letter fluency tasks produced lateralized and localized activation similar to that seen in adults. The patient had no language deficits following an anterior 2/3 dominant temporal lobe resection. Conclusions: With modifications of protocols such as those detailed in this report, this non-invasive method for localizing language function is feasible for the presurgical evaluation of children as well being applicable for a variety of developmental language issues.

Can. J. Neurol. Sci. 1996; 23: 213-219


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