Language mapping with verbs and sentences in awake surgery

A review

Adrià Rofes, Gabriele Miceli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Intraoperative language mapping in awake surgery is typically conducted by asking the patient to produce automatic speech and to name objects. These tasks might not map language with sufficient accuracy, as some linguistic processes can only be triggered by tasks that use verbs and sentences. Verb and sentence processing tasks are currently used during surgery, albeit sparsely. Medline, PubMed, and Web of Science records were searched to retrieve studies focused on language mapping with verbs/sentences in awake surgery. We review the tasks reported in the published literature, spell out the language processes assessed by each task, list the cortical and subcortical regions whose stimulation inhibited language processing, and consider the types of errors elicited by stimulation in each region. We argue that using verb tasks allows a more thorough evaluation of language functions. We also argue that verb tasks are preferable to object naming tasks in the case of frontal lesions, as lesion and neuroimaging data demonstrate that these regions play a critical role in verb and sentence processing. We discuss the clinical value of these tasks and the current limitations of the procedure, and provide some guidelines for their development. Future research should aim toward a differentiated approach to language mapping - one that includes the administration of standardized and customizable tests and the use of longitudinal neurocognitive follow-up studies. Further work will allow researchers and clinicians to understand brain and language correlates and to improve the current surgical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-199
Number of pages15
JournalNeuropsychology Review
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Awake surgery
  • Language mapping
  • Review
  • Sentence processing tasks
  • Verb processing tasks

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