Frontal activation and connectivity using near-infrared spectroscopy: verbal fluency language study

Brain Res Bull. 2011 Feb 28;84(3):197-205. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2011.01.002. Epub 2011 Jan 19.


Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is an optical technique with high temporal resolution and reasonably good spatial resolution, which allows non invasive measurement of the blood oxygenation of tissue. The current work is focused in assessing and correlating brain activation, connectivity and cortical lateralization of the frontal cortex in response to language-based stimuli, using NIRS. Experimental studies were performed on 15 normal right-handed adults, wherein the participants were presented with a verbal fluency task. The hemodynamic responses in the pre- and anterior frontal cortex were assessed in response to a Word generation task in comparison to the baseline random Jaw movement and Rest conditions. The functional connectivity analysis was performed using zero-order correlations and the cortical lateralization was evaluated as well. An increase in oxy- and a decrease in deoxy-hemoglobin were observed during verbal fluency task in the frontal cortex. Unlike in the pre-frontal cortex, the hemodynamic response in the anterior frontal during verbal fluency task was not significantly different from that during random Jaw movement. Bilateral activation and symmetrical connectivity were observed in the pre-frontal cortex, independent of the stimuli presented. A left cortical dominance and asymmetry connectivity was observed in the anterior frontal during the verbal fluency task. The work is focused to target the pediatric epileptic populations in the future, where understanding the brain functionality (activation, connectivity, and dominance) in response to language is essential as a part of the pre-surgical evaluation in a clinical environment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Frontal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Frontal Lobe / blood supply
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Language Tests / standards
  • Language*
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared / methods*
  • Speech / physiology*
  • Verbal Behavior / physiology*