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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the origins and development of the Wada test. Wada testing, named after Juhn A. Wada, M.D., is the technique of arterial administration of amobarbital (or other short acting barbiturate) to transiently inactivate brain function in the distribution of the injected artery during which cognitive testing is performed. The procedure was developed to establish cerebral language dominance in the late 1940s, and it became a routine component of the preoperative evaluation for epilepsy surgery in the mid-1950s. However, the use of Wada testing as the primary technique to identify cortical language regions and predict risk of post-operative memory decline has been increasingly displaced by electroencephalogram (EEG) video monitoring, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of hippocampus, positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), functional MRI (fMRI), and even multi-modality imaging.

Keywords: Wada testing, Juhn A. Wada, cognitive testing, cerebral language, epilepsy, preoperative evaluation

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