Lateralization of Cerebral Blood Flow Velocity Changes During Cognitive Tasks
A Simultaneous Bilateral Transcranial Doppler Study
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Background and Purpose—Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography (TCD) permits the assessment of cognitively induced cerebral blood flow velocity (BFV) changes. We sought to investigate the lateralization of BFV acceleration induced by a variety of cognitive tasks and to determine the influence of age, gender, IQ, and quality of the performance on the relative BFV changes.
Methods—Simultaneous bilateral TCD monitoring of BFV in the middle cerebral arteries (MCAs) was performed in 90 normal right-handed volunteers during 13 verbal and visuospatial tasks and their preceding rest periods.
Results—All tasks induced a significant bilateral BFV increase in the MCAs compared with the preceding rest periods. Five verbal tasks showed a significant left-hemispheric BFV acceleration. Linguistic tasks that required active or creative processing of the verbal stimuli, such as sentence construction or word fluency, elicited the most asymmetric response. Five visuospatial tasks revealed a significant right-hemispheric BFV shift. Paradigms that combined visuospatial attention and visuomotor manipulation showed the most lateralized acceleration. Older volunteers (aged >50 years) showed higher relative BFV changes, but lateralization was not influenced by age. Gender, IQ, and performance quality did not reveal significant effects on BFV change.
Conclusions—Bilateral TCD is a noninvasive technique that has the potential to connect the particular change in flow pattern of the MCA distribution with selective cognitive activity and thus offers specific functional information of scientific and clinical value.
- Received June 10, 1999.
- Revision received July 12, 1999.
- Accepted July 12, 1999.
- Copyright © 1999 by American Heart Association