Probing overtly spoken language at sentential level: a comprehensive high-field BOLD-fMRI protocol reflecting everyday language demands.

Research paper by Thomas T Foki, Andreas A Gartus, Alexander A Geissler, Roland R Beisteiner

Indexed on: 07 Dec '07Published on: 07 Dec '07Published in: NeuroImage


Regarding the application of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to preoperative mapping of language, the majority of previous studies applied silent vocalization at word level. Since mapping of language targets the protection of overt communication, the selection of the stimulation paradigm is a crucial issue. Typically, everyday language demands overt speech with construction of syntactically and semantically complete sentences. Here, 23 healthy right-handed subjects performed overt vocalization of complete german sentences. Subjects produced these sentences based on visually presented semantic choices. Special efforts were undertaken to minimize motion artifacts and maximize signal gain on a 3-T MR unit. Compared to previous studies, results showed a larger amount of highly reliable fMRI activations over the whole brain. Particularly, high sensitivity was found for Broca's and Wernicke's regions, as well as anterior and inferior temporal areas. Regarding the left hemisphere, simultaneous "Broca" and "Wernicke" activities were found in 95% of all subjects. When including atypical lateralizations, "Broca" and "Wernicke" activations were found in every subject. Overt vocalization at sentential level represents a new comprehensive language task with the potential to generate reliable activation maps that reflect brain activity associated with everyday language demands.