Laterality of brain areas associated with arithmetic calculations revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging

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ZHANG Yun-ting()
ZHANG Quan()
ZHANG Jing()
LI Wei()
Journal Title:
Volume 118, Issue 08, 2005
Key Word:
magnetic resonance imaging, functional;arithmetic calculation;cerebral cortex;cognition;laterality

Abstract´╝Ü Background Asymmetry of bilateral cerebral function, i.e. laterality, is an important phenomenon in many brain actions: arithmetic calculation may be one of these phenomena. In this study, first, laterality of brain areas associated with arithmetic calculations was revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Second, the relationship among laterality, handedness, and types of arithmetic task was assessed. Third, we postulate possible reasons for laterality.Methods Using a block-designed experiment, twenty-five right-handed and seven left-handed healthy volunteers carried out simple calculations, complex calculations and proximity judgments. T1WI and GRE-EPI fMRI were performed with a GE 1.5T whole body MRI scanner. Statistical parametric mapping (SPM99) was used to process data and localize functional areas. Numbers of activated voxels were recorded to calculate laterality index for evaluating the laterality of functional brain areas.Results For both groups, the activation of functional areas in the frontal lobe showed a tendency towards the nonpredominant hand side, but the functional areas in the inferior parietal lobule had left laterality. During simple and complex calculations, the laterality indices of the prefrontal cortex and premotor area were higher in the right-handed group than that in the left-handed group, whereas the laterality of the inferior parietal lobule had no such significant difference. In both groups, when the difficulty of the task increased, the laterality of the prefrontal cortex, premotor area, and inferior parietal lobule decreased, but the laterality of posterior part of the inferior frontal gyrus increased.Conclusions The laterality of the functional brain areas associated with arithmetic calculations can be detected with fMRI. The laterality of the functional areas was related to handedness and task difficulty.

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