Passive functional mapping of receptive language areas using electrocorticographic signals

J. R. Swift, W. G. Coon, C. Guger, P. Brunner, M. Bunch, T. Lynch, B. Frawley, A. L. Ritaccio, G. Schalk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: To validate the use of passive functional mapping using electrocorticographic (ECoG) broadband gamma signals for identifying receptive language cortex. Methods: We mapped language function in 23 patients using ECoG and using electrical cortical stimulation (ECS) in a subset of 15 subjects. Results: The qualitative comparison between cortical sites identified by ECoG and ECS show a high concordance. A quantitative comparison indicates a high level of sensitivity (95%) and a lower level of specificity (59%). Detailed analysis reveals that 82% of all cortical sites identified by ECoG were within one contact of a site identified by ECS. Conclusions: These results show that passive functional mapping reliably localizes receptive language areas, and that there is a substantial concordance between the ECoG- and ECS-based methods. They also point to a more refined understanding of the differences between ECoG- and ECS-based mappings. This refined understanding helps to clarify the instances in which the two methods disagree and can explain why neurosurgical practice has established the concept of a “safety margin.” Significance: Passive functional mapping using ECoG signals provides a fast, robust, and reliable method for identifying receptive language areas without many of the risks and limitations associated with ECS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2517-2524
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • ECoG
  • Electrocorticography
  • Functional mapping
  • Intracranial
  • Receptive language


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