Establishing a Developmentally Appropriate fMRI Paradigm Relevant to Presurgical Mapping of Memory in Children

Amanda G Wood*, Elaine Foley, Parnpreet Virk, Helen Ruddock, Paras Joshee, Kelly Murphy, Stefano Seri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is an established eloquent cortex mapping technique that is now an integral part of the pre-operative work-up in candidates for epilepsy surgery. Emerging evidence in adults with epilepsy suggests that material-specific fMRI paradigms can predict postoperative memory outcomes, however these paradigms are not suitable for children. In pediatric age, the use of memory fMRI paradigms designed for adults is complicated by the effect of developmental stages in cognitive maturation, the impairment experienced by some people with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and the normal representation of memory function during development, which may differ from adults. We present a memory fMRI paradigm designed to activate mesial temporal lobe structures that is brief, independent of reading ability, and therefore a novel candidate for use in children. Data from 33 adults and 19 children (all healthy controls) show that the paradigm captures the expected leftward asymmetry of mesial temporal activation in adults. A more symmetrical pattern was observed in children, consistent with the progressive emergence of hemispheric specialisation across childhood. These data have important implications for the interpretation of presurgical memory fMRI in the pediatric setting. They also highlight the need to carefully consider the impact of cognitive development on fMRI tools used in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267–274
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Topography
Issue number2
Early online date21 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2019. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit


  • Asymmetry
  • Children
  • Epilepsy
  • Lateralisation
  • Memory
  • fMRI


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