We tested the prediction that single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) of the blood flow distribution in speech-activated brain identifies the language-dominant hemisphere. We based the prediction on the hypothesis that language activation leads to focally increased regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF), which is reflected in the uptake of a flow tracer recorded by SPECT. We compared the results of speech activation to the results of functional transcranial Doppler (fTCD) monitoring in the same subjects. Preoperatively, 17 patients (10 women and 7 men with a mean age of 36 ± 15 years) with diagnoses of epilepsy (n = 14) or arteriovenous malformation (AVM) (n = 3) had two SPECT and two stereo-TCD monitoring studies in each case, one at rest, and one during 3 min of speech activation. Except for two left-handed patients with right-hemisphere dominance, the subjects had the highest changes of rCBF from baseline to activation in the left posterior inferior frontal cortex and in contralateral cerebellum. The results show that changes of the level of neuronal activity reflected by the measurement of rCBF variations might be detected by SPECT. Additionally, the evaluation of hemispheric language dominance based on SPECT showed a complete agreement with the evaluation based on fTCD results (yielding a kappa coefficient equal to 1), and therefore, speech-activation SPECT mapping might be helpful in the evaluation of hemispheric language dominance, especially when fMRI and PET are not available or they are contraindicated for some reason.
- Hemispheric language dominance
- Speech activation
- rCBF SPECT
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience