A simple magnetoencephalographic auditory paradigm may aid in confirming left-hemispheric language dominance in epilepsy patients

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Research units

  • University of Helsinki

Abstract

Objective: The intracarotid amobarbital procedure (IAP) is the current “gold standard” in the preoperative assessment of language lateralization in epilepsy surgery candidates. It is, however, invasive and has several limitations. Here we tested a simple noninvasive language lateralization test performed with magnetoencephalography (MEG). Methods: We recorded auditory MEG responses to pairs of vowels and pure tones in 16 epilepsy surgery candidates who had undergone IAP. For each individual, we selected the pair of planar gradiometer sensors with the strongest N100m response to vowels in each hemisphere and —from the vector sum of signals of this gradiometer pair—calculated the vowel/tone amplitude ratio in the left (L) and right (R) hemisphere and, subsequently, the laterality index: LI = (L–R)/(L+R). In addition to the analysis using a single sensor pair, an alternative analysis was performed using averaged responses over 18 temporal sensor pairs in both hemispheres. Results: The laterality index did not correlate significantly with the lateralization data obtained from the IAP. However, an MEG pattern of stronger responses to vowels than tones in the left hemisphere and stronger responses to tones than vowels in the right hemisphere was associated with left-hemispheric language dominance in the IAP in all the six patients who showed this pattern. This results in a specificity of 100% and a sensitivity of 67% of this MEG pattern in predicting left-hemispheric language dominance (p = 0.01, Fisher’s exact test). In the analysis using averaged responses over temporal channels, one additional patient who was left-dominant in IAP showed this particular MEG pattern, increasing the sensitivity to 78% (p = 0.003). Significance: This simple MEG paradigm shows promise in feasibly and noninvasively confirming left-hemispheric language dominance in epilepsy surgery candidates. It may aid in reducing the need for the IAP, if the results are confirmed in larger patient samples.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0200073
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalPloS one
Volume13
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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