Determining the hemispheric dominance of spatial attention: a comparison between fTCD and fMRI

Hum Brain Mapp. 2004 Nov;23(3):168-80. doi: 10.1002/hbm.20055.


Human brain mapping allows the systematic assessment of interindividual differences in functional brain anatomy. Functional transcranial Doppler sonography (fTCD) is an imaging tool that allows for fast and mobile assessment of hemispheric lateralization of task-related brain activation. It is ideal to screen large cohorts of subjects. The goal of the present study was to investigate whether fTCD and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) determine hemispheric lateralization of brain activation related to visuospatial attention concordantly. Used together, fMRI and fTCD may then open up a wide range of potential applications in neuroscience. Fifteen subjects were examined both with fTCD and fMRI while they judged accuracy of line bisections (Landmark task). For fTCD, the maximal mean difference in stimulus-related relative cerebral blood flow velocity changes in the left and right middle cerebral arteries was assessed as the lateralization index LI(fTCD). For fMRI, two approaches were used to determine hemispheric dominance. First, we measured brain activity as the extent of the activated region, i.e., the number of activated voxels above a statistical threshold. Second, we calculated the magnitude of the fMRI signal change between the activation and the control task within a region of interest. Results of fTCD and fMRI were concordant in every single case. Therefore, scanning large cohorts with fTCD for hemispheric dominance during Landmark task will provide results consistent with fMRI. FMRI can then be used for in depth assessment of the specific patterns of activation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology*
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial*
  • Visual Perception / physiology