The investigation of functional brain lateralization by transcranial Doppler sonography

Neuroimage. 2004 Mar;21(3):1124-46. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2003.10.016.


Functional transcranial Doppler sonography (fTCD) adds to the techniques of functional imaging. fTCD measures cerebral perfusion changes related to neural activation in a way comparable to functional magnetic resonance tomography. fTCD contends itself with comparison of averaged, event-related blood flow velocity changes within the territories of two cerebral arteries, for example the left versus the right middle cerebral artery. It can thus serve to evaluate the functional lateralization of higher cognitive functions like hemispheric language dominance (HLD). We present typical applications of fTCD by summarizing studies employing the technique. Then, the physical and physiological underpinnings of fTCD are reviewed. After a brief description of a prototype paradigm for assessing HLD, a detailed outline of the fTCD data analysis is presented. Caveats for fTCD, like other functional imaging techniques, are that the validity of results depends on adequate control of the task parameters, particularly cooperation and reference conditions. We complete the review with examinations of the reliability and validity of the fTCD technique. We conclude that fTCD can be employed to substitute the invasive amobarbital procedure to determine language lateralization in individual patients before undergoing brain surgery. Because of its easy applicability, robustness and mobility, fTCD can also be used to examine many subjects (including children) to obtain representative data on the variability of lateralization of higher cognitive functions, or to scan for atypical patterns of lateralization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Blood Circulation / physiology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology
  • Cerebral Arteries / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic
  • Heart / physiology
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Models, Biological
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial