Language brain scan

What to expect when you come to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for a language brain scan.

What will happen on the day?

You are going to have a language brain scan! This means you will lie inside a scanner and play word games.

This will let the doctors see the part of the brain you use for listening and speaking.

Before your scan you will meet someone from Neuropsychology team. You will practise playing the word games, and be able to go in a pretend scanner to get used to the sounds.

While you wait you can choose a DVD to watch for part of the time you are in the scanner.

There is a big magnet in the scanner, so we will check that you are not wearing any metal.

Finally, you are ready for the scan!

Your brain scan

The brain scanner looks like a doughnut. It is open at both ends. You lie in the middle bit. The brain scanner is a large camera which takes photos of your brain.

it is very important that you speak softly and keep as still as possible. If you move, the pictures will be fuzzy and we will have to do the scan again.

The word games

There are three games that you will play in the scanner:

1. Saying a doing word (verb)

You will hear a word, then you will say a doing word (a verb) that would go with it. For example, if they said "flower", you could say "smelling" or if they said "lunch" you could say "eating".

2. Thinking of a doing verb

You will hear a word, then you think of a doing word in your head, do not say it out loud.

  • The doctors can see from the scans where you are thinking of words. So keep playing the game.
  • There are no right or wrong answers, just say any doing word that might go with the word you hear.

3. Listening to a story

The radiographers will read you a story. Listen carefully as you will then have a quiz about what you can remember from the story. Then you will be finished and able to go home!

How to prepare

  • Practise the word games and speaking softly (like a whisper). This is important to help you keep your head still and make sure the photos are really clear.
  • If you have a favourite DVD, bring this with you as you can watch it in the scanner!
  • To get an idea of what the scan will be like, you can watch videos of them.
If you have any questions or worries about the scan, please call the Clinical neuropsychology team on 020 7405 9200 extension 0146.

Compiled by:
MRI department in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group
Last review date:
June 2016