FMRI language mapping in children: a panel of language tasks using visual and auditory stimulation without reading or metalinguistic requirements.

Abstract : In the context of presurgical mapping or investigation of neurological and developmental disorders in children, language fMRI raises the issue of the design of a tasks panel achievable by young disordered children. Most language tasks shown to be efficient with healthy children require metalinguistic or reading abilities, therefore adding attentional, cognitive and academic constraints that may be problematic in this context. This study experimented a panel of four language tasks that did not require high attentional skills, reading, or metalinguistic abilities. Two reference tasks involving auditory stimulation (words generation from category, "category"; auditory responsive naming, "definition") were compared with two new tasks involving visual stimulation. These later were designed to tap spontaneous phonological production, in which the names of pictures to be named involve a phonological difference (e.g. in French poule/boule/moule; "phon-diff") or change of segmentation (e.g. in French car/car-te/car-t-on; "phon-seg"). Eighteen healthy children participated (mean age: 12.7+/-3 years). Data processing involved normalizing the data via a matched pairs pediatric template, and inter-task and region of interest analyses with laterality assessment. The reference tasks predominantly activated the left frontal and temporal core language regions, respectively. The new tasks activated these two regions simultaneously, more strongly for the phon-seg task. The union and intersection of all tasks provided more sensitive or specific maps. The study demonstrates that both reference and new tasks highlight core language regions in children, and that the latter are useful for the mapping of spontaneous phonological processing. The use of several different tasks may improve the sensitivity and specificity of fMRI.
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Clément de Guibert, Camille Maumet, Jean-Christophe Ferré, Pierre Jannin, Arnaud Biraben, et al.. FMRI language mapping in children: a panel of language tasks using visual and auditory stimulation without reading or metalinguistic requirements.. NeuroImage, Elsevier, 2010, 51 (2), pp.897-909. ⟨10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.02.054⟩. ⟨inserm-00461666⟩

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