Publications by Year: 2009

Ralph O Suarez, Stephen Whalen, Aaron P Nelson, Yanmei Tie, Mary-Ellen Meadows, Alireza Radmanesh, and Alexandra J Golby. 10/2009. “Threshold-independent Functional MRI Determination of Language Dominance: A Validation Study Against Clinical Gold Standards.” Epilepsy Behav, 16, 2, Pp. 288-97.Abstract
Functional MRI (fMRI) is often used for presurgical language lateralization. In the most common approach, a laterality index (LI) is calculated on the basis of suprathreshold voxels. However, strong dependencies between LI and threshold can diminish the effectiveness of this technique; in this study we investigated an original methodology that is independent of threshold. We compared this threshold-independent method against the common threshold-dependent method in 14 patients with epilepsy who underwent Wada testing. In addition, clinical results from electrocortical language mapping and postoperative language findings were used to assess the validity of the fMRI lateralization method. The threshold-dependent methodology yielded ambiguous or incongruent lateralization outcomes in 4 of 14 patients in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and in 6 of 14 patients in the supramarginal gyrus (SMG). Conversely, the threshold-independent method yielded unambiguous lateralization in all the patients tested, and demonstrated lateralization outcomes incongruent with clinical standards in 2 of 14 patients in IFG and in 1 of 14 patients in SMG. This validation study demonstrates that the threshold-dependent LI calculation is prone to significant within-patient variability that could render results unreliable; the threshold-independent method can generate distinct LIs that are more concordant with gold standard clinical findings.
Yanmei Tie, Ralph O Suarez, Stephen Whalen, Alireza Radmanesh, Isaiah H Norton, and Alexandra J Golby. 8/2009. “Comparison of Blocked and Event-related fMRI Designs for Pre-surgical Language Mapping.” Neuroimage, 47 Suppl 2, Pp. T107-15.Abstract
Language functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a promising non-invasive technique for pre-surgical planning in patients whose lesions are adjacent to or within critical language areas. Most language fMRI studies in patients use blocked experimental design. In this study, we compared a blocked design and a rapid event-related design with a jittered inter-stimulus-interval (ISI) (or stochastic design) for language fMRI in six healthy controls, and eight brain tumor patients, using a vocalized antonym generation task. Comparisons were based on visual inspection of fMRI activation maps and degree of language lateralization, both of which were assessed at a constant statistical threshold for each design. The results indicated a relatively high degree of discordance between the two task designs. In general, the event-related design provided maps with more robust activations in the putative language areas than the blocked design, especially for brain tumor patients. Our results suggest that the rapid event-related design has potential for providing comparable or even higher detection power over the blocked design for localizing language function in brain tumor patients, and therefore may be able to generate more sensitive language maps. More patient studies, and further investigation and optimization of language fMRI paradigms will be needed to determine the utility and validity of this approach for pre-surgical planning.