Evaluation of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) in Patients Who Speak Two Languages Fluently


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a non-invasive test used to detect changes in brain activity by taking picture of changes in blood flow. The imaging helps doctors better understand how the brain works. Task based fMRI (TB fMRI) prompts patients to perform different activities (e.g. word selection in a reading task), and is routinely performed on patients in preparation for a Neurological surgery (surgery that involves the nervous system, brain and/or spinal cord). The purpose is to locate areas of the brain that control speech and movement; these images will help make decisions about patient surgeries. However, there are however gaps in knowledge specific to the language areas of the brain, especially for non-English patients and bilingual patients (those who are fluent in more than one language). This study proposes to evaluate if resting state fMRI (RS fMRI) that does not require any tasks, along with a novel way to analyze these images using "graphy theory," may provide more information. Graph theory is a new mathematical method to analyze the fMRI data. The overall goal is to determine if graph theory analysis on RS fMRI may reduce differences in health care treatment and outcomes for non-English speaking and bilingual patients. We hope that the results of this study will allow doctors to perform pre-operative fMRI in patients who do not speak English.

Study Start Date

March, 30 2018

Estimated Completion Date

March 2019


  • Diagnostic Test: Language paradigms + RS fMRI
  • Diagnostic Test: Language paradigms + RS fMRI + one anatomical sequence
  • Behavioral: Multilingual Aphasia Examination

Study ID

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center -- 18-121



Trial ID


Study Type


Trial Phase


Enrollment Quota



Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Inclusion Criteria

  • Patients/ healthy volunteers ? 18 years old
  • Patients/ healthy volunteers must be able to perform the language paradigms on cue while inside the scanner
  • Patients/ healthy volunteers who are monolingual English speakers, early bilinguals (English and Spanish) or late bilinguals (English and Spanish)
  • Patients must be newly diagnosed with a glioma (from prior histology) or must be suspected to have a glioma on imaging (to be confirmed by post-operative histology)
  • Patient's location of the tumor must involve the expected location of Broca's area (left pars opercularis and/or pars triangularis). This determination will be made on the basis of a pre-operative MRI by a fellowship-trained Neuroradiologist Early bilingual will be defined as acquiring proficiency in the second language before 10 years of age.

Exclusion Criteria

  • Patients/ volunteers who are unable to comply or complete MRI exams as per the Department of Radiology's standard guidelines (e.g.: claustrophobia, high levels of anxiety, pacemaker etc.)
  • Patient/ volunteers who are unable to perform the language paradigms on cue while inside the scanner (due to weakness, deafness, inability to understand or follow instructions etc.)
  • Volunteers with a history of neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders or cancer
  • Female patients/ volunteers who are pregnant or nursing
  • Patients/ volunteers from the vulnerable population, as defined by 45 CFR 46




18 Years and older

Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Study Locations and Contact Information (2)

Study Location Distance Name Phone Email
City College of New York - New York, New York 181.9 miles Hernan Maske PhD 212-650-6847 hmakse@lev.ccny.cuny.edu
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - New York, New York 184.8 miles Andrei Holodny MD 212-639-3182 holodnya@mskcc.org

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