Sunday, February 06, 2011

Abnormal auditory system in people who stutter?

Here is the latest research finding on the stuttering brain. The Japanese scientists claim that people who stutter have abnormal auditory regions. I am a bit confused by this piece of research.
I also want to point out that this signal, if true, might not be the cause of stuttering directly. It could be that this abnormalities is responsible for non-recovery, but not for the cause of stuttering.

Neuroimage. 2011 Jan 11. [Epub ahead of print]

Spatiotemporal signatures of an abnormal auditory system in stuttering.

Department of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan; Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Faculty of Medicine, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.


People who stutter (PWS) can reduce their stuttering rates under masking noise and altered auditory feedback; such a response can be attributed to altered auditory input, which suggests that abnormal speech processing in PWS results from abnormal processing of auditory input. However, the details of this abnormal processing of basic auditory information remain unclear. In order to characterize such abnormalities, we examined the functional and structural changes in the auditory cortices of PWS by using a 306-channel magnetoencephalography system to assess auditory sensory gating (P50m suppression) and tonotopic organization. Additionally, we employed voxel-based morphometry to compare cortical gray matter (GM) volumes on structural MR images. PWS exhibited impaired left auditory sensory gating. The tonotopic organization in the right hemisphere of PWS is expanded compared with that of the controls. Furthermore, PWS showed a significant increase in the GM volume of the right superior temporal gyrus, consistent with the right tonotopic expansion. Accordingly, we suggest that PWS have impaired left auditory sensory gating during basic auditory input processing and that some error signals in the auditory cortex could result in abnormal speech processing. Functional and structural reorganization of the right auditory cortex appears to be a compensatory mechanism for impaired left auditory cortex function in PWS.

1 comment:

Scott said...


Hollins has been doing research on hearing related abnormalities for years. When I went through in 2000 I participated in their research program and again when I went back for a refresher course in 2003. I don't know if this is in the same line of thinking as the japanese research but it is interesting.