Functional MRI: Primary motor cortex localization in patients with brain tumors

Andrea Righini, Oreste De Divitiis, Anna Prinster, Diego Spagnoli, Ildebrando Appollonio, Lorenzo Bello, Paola Scifo, Giustino Tomei, Roberto Villani, Ferruccio Fazio, Marco Leonardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Our goal was (a) to test the ability of functional MRI (fMRI) to localize the hand primary motor cortex in patients with brain neoplasms using a conventional scanner and (b) to compare within the same subject the location and morphology of the activated motor areas in the affected hemisphere with the contralateral ones. Method: Seventeen right-handed patients with frontoparietal intra- and extraaxial tumors were studied. Hand motor performance ranged from normal to slight impairment of finger dexterity. The fMRI study was based on a series of FLASH images. Two or three contiguous slices parallel to the bicommissural plane were acquired through the level of frontoparietal cortex. Each patient was requested to perform with each hand a finger-tapping task or a simpler repetitive flexion- extension of the last four fingers. Pseudo-color activation maps were then calculated by a Z-score method and superimposed on high resolution images. Results: Five patients were excluded because of gross motion artifacts. In all other patients, areas of significant signal increase were detected on the precentral gyrus. They had a spot-like appearance, and no substantial side- to-side differences in shape or extension could be observed. In the presence of severe compression of the gyri, a displacement of the activated areas in the affected hemisphere with respect to the contralateral ones was noticeable. Conclusion: fMRI localization of the primary motor area using a conventional scanner can be obtained also in patients with brain tumors, although with a lower success rate than in normal volunteer studies, mainly because of subject compliance problems. Areas of significantly increased signal are detectable even in cortex where normal anatomical patterns are lost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)702-708
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Tomography
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1996


  • Brain neoplasms
  • Brain, anatomy
  • Brain, cortex
  • Magnetic resonance imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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