Mapping of receptive language cortex in bilingual volunteers by using magnetic source imaging

Journal article


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Publication Details

Author list: Maestu F
Publisher: American Association of Neurological Surgeons
Publication year: 2001
Volume number: 95
Issue number: 1
Start page: 76
End page: 81
Number of pages: 6
ISSN: 0022-3085
Languages: English-Great Britain (EN-GB)


Object. There are conflicting claims in the functional imaging
literature concerning whether different languages are represented by
distinct brain mechanisms in individuals who are proficient in more than
one language. This interesting theoretical issue has practical
implications when functional imaging methods are used for presurgical
language mapping. To address this issue the authors compared the
location and extent of receptive language cortex specific to English and
Spanish in neurologically intact bilingual volunteers by using magnetic
source imaging.

Methods. Areas of the cortex that were specialized for receptive
language functions were identified separately for each language in 11
healthy adults who were bilingual in English and Spanish. The authors
performed exactly the same procedures used routinely for presurgical
receptive language mapping. In each bilingual individual, the receptive
language-specific map always encompassed the posterior portion of the
superior temporal gyrus. In every case, however, substantial differences
in the receptive language maps were also observed for the two
languages, regardless of whether each participant's first language was
English or Spanish.

Conclusions. Although the reasons for such differences and their
ultimate significance in identifying the cerebral mechanisms of language
are subject to continuing investigation, their presence is noteworthy
and has practical implications for the surgical management of patients
with lesions in the temporal and parietal regions of the dominant


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Last updated on 2019-13-08 at 00:45