fMRI Activation in Language Areas Correlates with Verb Generation Performance in Children

Department of Neurology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229, USA.
Neuropediatrics (Impact Factor: 1.24). 10/2010; 41(5):235-9. DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1267982
Source: PubMed


Functional MRI mapping of language areas in children frequently employs a covert verb generation task. Because responses are not monitored, the relationship between fMRI activation and task performance is unknown. We compared fMRI activation during covert and overt verb generation to performance during the overt task. 15 children, ages 11-13 years, listened to concrete nouns and responded with related verbs covertly and overtly. A clustered fMRI acquisition allowed for recording of overt responses without motion artifacts. Region of interest analysis was also performed in areas that exhibited correlation between activation and performance during overt verb generation in left inferior frontal and left superior temporal gyri (along with their right hemisphere homologues). Regression analysis determined that during both covert and overt generation, left hemisphere regions showed positive correlations with average counts of verbs generated during the overt task. These results suggest that increased verb generation performance leads to increased activation. In addition, overt performance may be used as an estimator of covert performance.

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    • "We only included 1–30 Hz in SAM analysis, which could also contribute to the discrepancies between the two modalities. As expected, significantly greater activation was identified in the bilateral primary motor cortex during the overt versus covert verb generation (C3) for both MEG and fMRI group results, which is consistent with our previous publication on this task (Vannest et al., 2010) and other investigators (Huang et al., 2002; Soros et al., 2006). An alternative explanation for the differences between fMRI and MEG composite activation maps in Fig. 2 stems from the difference in the way in which source location is computed in the two modalities. "
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    Brain research 02/2012; 1447:79-90. DOI:10.1016/j.brainres.2012.02.001 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    • "More recently, researchers have begun to explore the influence of performance on fMRI activation during language tasks. There is evidence that task performance directly correlates with levels of brain activation in task related cortical regions (Vannest et al., 2010). Further, Yeatman et al. (2010) found that frontal regions are recruited in response to increasing task demands in children with superior language skills, suggesting that children with strong language abilities are activating higher-order brain functions with increased task complexity. "
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