Presurgical language mapping: What are we testing?

Bastiaanse, R., & Ohlerth, A.-K. (2023). Presurgical language mapping: What are we testing? Journal of Personalized Medicine, 13: 376. doi:10.3390/jpm13030376.
Gliomas are brain tumors infiltrating healthy cortical and subcortical areas that may host cognitive functions, such as language. If these areas are damaged during surgery, the patient might develop word retrieval or articulation problems. For this reason, many glioma patients are operated on awake, while their language functions are tested. For this practice, quite simple tests are used, for example, picture naming. This paper describes the process and timeline of picture naming (noun retrieval) and shows the timeline and localization of the distinguished stages. This is relevant information for presurgical language testing with navigated Magnetic Stimulation (nTMS). This novel technique allows us to identify cortical involved in the language production process and, thus, guides the neurosurgeon in how to approach and remove the tumor. We argue that not only nouns, but also verbs should be tested, since sentences are built around verbs, and sentences are what we use in daily life. This approach’s relevance is illustrated by two case studies of glioma patients.
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