Network reorganization during verbal fluency test in fronto-temporal epilepsy: A functional near-infrared spectroscopy study

Hsin Tung, Wei Hao Lin, Tsuo Hung Lan, Peiyuan F. Hsieh, Ming Chang Chiang, Yung Yang Lin, Syu Jyun Peng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This is the first study to use functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to investigate how the lateralization of the epileptogenic zone affects the reconfiguration of task-related network patterns. Eleven left fronto-temporal epilepsy (L-FTE) and 11 right fronto-temporal epilepsy (R-FTE), as well as 22 age- and gender-matched controls, were enrolled. Signals from 52-channel fNIRS were recorded while the subject was undertaking verbal fluency tasks (VFTs), which included categorical (CFT) and letter (LFT) fluency tasks. Three analytic methods were used to study the network topology: network-based analysis, hub identification, and proportional threshold to select the top 20% strongest connections for both graph theory parameters and clinical correlation. Performance of CFT is accomplished primarily using the ventral pathway, and bilateral ventral pathways are augmented in fronto-temporal epilepsy patients by strengthening the inter-hemispheric connections, especially for R-FTE. LFT mainly employed the dorsal pathway, and further prioritized the left dorsal pathway in strengthening intra-hemispheric connections in fronto-temporal epilepsy, especially L-FTE. The top 20% of the strongest connections only present differences in CFT network compared with the controls. R-FTE increased inter-hemispheric network density, while L-FTE decreased inter-hemispheric average characteristic path length. Accumulative seizure burden only affects L-FTE network. Better LFT performance and longer educational years seem to promote left fronto-temporal networks, and decreased the demand from RR intra-hemispheric connectivity in L-FTE. LFT scores in R-FTE are maintained by preserved RR intra-hemispheric networks. However, CFT scores and educational years seem to have no effect on the CFT network topology in both FTE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-549
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Brain connectivity
  • Epileptogenic network
  • Fronto-temporal epilepsy
  • Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)
  • Verbal fluency test (VFT)


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