A valid alternative for in-person language assessments in brain tumor patients: feasibility and validity measures of the new TeleLanguage test

Elke De Witte, Vitória Piai, Garret Kurteff, Ruofan Cai, Peter Mariën, Nina Dronkers, Edward Chang, Mitchel Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background. Although language deficits after awake brain surgery are usually milder than post-stroke, postoperative language assessments are needed to identify these. Follow-up of brain tumor patients in certain geographical regions can be difficult when most patients are not local and come from afar. We developed a short telephonebased test for pre- And postoperative language assessments. Methods. The development of the TeleLanguage Test was based on the Dutch Linguistic Intraoperative Protocol and existing standardized English batteries. Two parallel versions were composed and tested in healthy native English speakers. Subsequently, the TeleLanguage Test was administered in a group of 14 tumor patients before surgery and at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months after surgery. The test includes auditory comprehension, repetition, semantic selection, sentence or story completion, verbal naming, and fluency tests. It takes less than 20 minutes to administer. Results. Healthy participants had no difficulty performing any of the language tests via the phone, attesting to the feasibility of a phone assessment. In the patient group, all TeleLanguage test scores significantly declined shortly after surgery with a recovery to preoperative levels at 3 months postsurgery for naming and fluency tasks and a recovery to normal levels for the other language tasks. Analysis of the in-person language assessments (until 1 month) revealed a similar profile. Conclusion. The use of the TeleLanguage battery to conduct language assessments from afar can provide convenience, might optimize patient care, and enables longitudinal clinical research. The TeleLanguage is a valid tool for various clinical and scientific purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
JournalNeuro-Oncology Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 29 2019
Externally publishedYes



  • Aphasia
  • Htumor surgery
  • Language test
  • Lawake brain surgery
  • Telephone assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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