Purpose: The aim of our study was to evidence the location of the cortical area triggered by visual memory tasks by he mean of functional magnetic resonance imaging examination (fMRI).
Methods: Twelve healthy volunteers underwent fMRI examination on a 1.5 Tesla magnet with echoplanar imaging sequence during figurative and non-figurative memory tasks. An area was considered to be activated if at least 10 contiguous voxels activation was noted. Activated areas were defined for both tasks and the brain mapping was realized according to Talairach atlas.
Results: For all examinations a bilateral activity was evidenced (area 17 and 18). In addition, a frontal activation was also noted in 83% of the cases for both tasks. However, frontal activation was bilateral in 9/10 cases for the figurative task and 6/10 cases for the non-figurative task.
Conclusion: FMRI was able to evidence activation of cerebral areas during visual memory tasks in all our study cases. Frontal activation was not discriminative of figurative or non figurative memory. This might be probably explain by inappropriate non-figurative tests. FMRI should allow a better knowledge of memory mechanisms as well as an enhancement of functional cerebral mapping before surgery.