Brain Correlates of Stuttering and Syllable Production: Gender Comparison and Replication

Ingham, Roger J.; Fox, Peter T.; Ingham, Janis C.; Jinhu Xiong; Zamarripa, Frank; Hardies, L. Jean; Lancaster, Jack L.
April 2004
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Apr2004, Vol. 47 Issue 2, p321
Academic Journal
This article reports a gender replication study of the P. T. Fox et al. (2000) performance correlation analysis of neural systems that distinguish between normal and stuttered speech in adult males. Positron-emission tomographic (PET) images of cerebral blood flow (CBF) were correlated with speech behavior scores obtained during PET imaging for 10 dextral female stuttering speakers and 10 dextral, age- and sex-matched normally fluent controls. Gender comparisons were made between the total number of voxels per region significantly correlated with speech performance (as in P. T. Fox et al., 2000) plus total voxels per region that were significantly correlated with stutter rate and not with syllable rate. Stutter-rate regional correlates were generally right-sided in males, but bilateral in the females. For both sexes the positive regional correlates for stuttering were in right (R) anterior insula and the negative correlates were in R Brodmann area 21/22 and an area within left (L) inferior frontal gyrus. The female stuttering speakers displayed additional positive correlates in L anterior insula and in basal ganglia (L globus pallidus, R caudate), plus extensive right hemisphere negative correlates in the prefrontal area and the limbic and parietal lobes. The male stuttering speakers were distinguished by positive correlates in L medial occipital lobe and R medial cerebellum. Regions that positively correlated with syllable rate (essentially stutter-free speech) in stuttering speakers and controls were very similar for both sexes. The findings strengthen claims that chronic developmental stuttering is functionally related to abnormal speech-motor and auditory region interactions. The gender differences may be related to differences between the genders with respect to susceptibility (males predominate) and recovery from chronic stuttering (females show higher recovery rates during childhood).


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