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Reorganisation of cortical motor and language distribution in human brain
  1. H W Lee1,2,
  2. J S Shin2,
  3. W R S Webber1,
  4. N E Crone1,
  5. L Gingis1,
  6. R P Lesser1,3,4
  1. 1
    Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  2. 2
    Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Ewha Womans University and Ewha Clinical Research Institute, Seoul, Korea
  3. 3
    Department of Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  4. 4
    Zanvyl-Krieger Mind/Brain Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  1. Dr R P Lesser, Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, 2-147, Meyer Building, 600 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287-7247, USA; rl{at}


Background: The locations of cortex controlling motor, sensory, or language functions can change in adult humans under some circumstances, such as expanding tumours, trauma or continuous focal seizures. It is not clear what other circumstances might result in changes in cortical functional maps.

Methods: The results of extraoperative cortical mappings of motor, sensory, and language functions were compared in two epilepsy patients who underwent cortical resections on two separate occasions and who did not have brain tumours.

Results: It was found that the locations of motor functions could differ between the first and second procedures, but the locations of language functions were quite similar. The changes were not necessarily in or adjacent to epileptogenic regions or adjacent to resection boundaries.

Conclusions: These findings support previous evidence indicating that cortical functional representations can change over time in humans, and suggest that these changes cannot be explained solely by lesion effects.

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • Funding: HWL received funding from the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) (No R01-2007-000-11080-0), funded by the Korean government (MOST). NEC received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NINDS R01NS40596).

  • Ethics approval: Ethics approval was provided by the institutional review board of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

  • Patient consent: Obtained.

  • ▸ Additional figures are published online only at