Emotion-related cerebral asymmetry: Hemodynamics measured by functional ultrasound

Elio Troisi, Mauro Silvestrini, Maria Matteis, Bruno C. Monaldo, Fabrizio Vernieri, Carlo Caltagirone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study assessed the use of transcranial Doppler ultrasound in detecting selective changes in cerebral blood flow velocity during emotional processes. The role of the respective hemispheres in emotional processing is controversial. Cerebral control of emotional processing has previously been investigated by analysis of patients with unilateral brain damage, experiments with selective stimulation of only one hemisphere, and more recently by imaging techniques measuring local cerebral blood flow. We investigated mean flow velocity continuously and simultaneously in both the right and left middle cerebral arteries (MCAs) in 16 healthy right-handed young subjects at rest and during the performance of three tasks: task 1: 15 slides with nonemotional content; task 2: 15 slides with negative emotional content; task 3: 15 slides with nonemotional content with different content from that in task 1. The three tasks produced significantly different effects on the right and left hemispheres. During the two nonemotional tasks the increase in mean flow velocity over basal values was similar in the two MCAs (task 1: left MCA = 3.27 ± 1.9%; right MCA = 3.63 ± 2.1%; task 3: left MCA = 2.42 ± 0.7%; right MCA = 2.56 ± 1.3%); the negative emotional task was accompanied by a significantly higher increase in the right (11.3 ± 1.6%) than in the left MCA (4.72 ± 3.7%; analysis of variance two-way interaction: side of recording x task, F = 43.6, P <0.001). These results show the possibility of obtaining specific functional information from bilateral transcranial Doppler ultrasound and suggest the involvement of the right hemisphere in emotional processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1172-1176
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Emotions
  • Evoked cerebral blood flow, hemispheric dominance
  • Transcranial Doppler ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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