Anomalous White Matter Morphology in Adults Who Stutter Aims Developmental stuttering is now generally considered to arise from genetic determinants interacting with neurologic function. Changes within speech-motor white matter (WM) connections may also be implicated. These connections can now be studied in great detail by high-angular-resolution diffusion magnetic resonance imaging. Therefore, diffusion spectrum imaging was used to reconstruct ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 2015
Anomalous White Matter Morphology in Adults Who Stutter
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Matthew Cieslak
    University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Roger J. Ingham
    University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Janis C. Ingham
    University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Scott T. Grafton
    University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Roger J. Ingham: rjingham@speech.ucsb.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Hans-Georg Bosshardt
    Associate Editor: Hans-Georg Bosshardt×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 2015
Anomalous White Matter Morphology in Adults Who Stutter
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 268-277. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-14-0193
History: Received July 11, 2014 , Revised October 16, 2014 , Accepted January 16, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 268-277. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-14-0193
History: Received July 11, 2014; Revised October 16, 2014; Accepted January 16, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4

Aims Developmental stuttering is now generally considered to arise from genetic determinants interacting with neurologic function. Changes within speech-motor white matter (WM) connections may also be implicated. These connections can now be studied in great detail by high-angular-resolution diffusion magnetic resonance imaging. Therefore, diffusion spectrum imaging was used to reconstruct streamlines to examine white matter connections in people who stutter (PWS) and in people who do not stutter (PWNS).

Method WM morphology of the entire brain was assayed in 8 right-handed male PWS and 8 similarly aged right-handed male PWNS. WM was exhaustively searched using a deterministic algorithm that identifies missing or largely misshapen tracts. To be abnormal, a tract (defined as all streamlines connecting a pair of gray matter regions) was required to be at least one 3rd missing, in 7 out of 8 subjects in one group and not in the other group.

Results Large portions of bilateral arcuate fasciculi, a heavily researched speech pathway, were abnormal in PWS. Conversely, all PWS had a prominent connection in the left temporo-striatal tract connecting frontal and temporal cortex that was not observed in PWNS.

Conclusion These previously unseen structural differences of WM morphology in classical speech-language circuits may underlie developmental stuttering.

Acknowledgments
The study was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant DC007893 (awarded to R. J. Ingham), National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke Grant NS44393 (awarded to S. T. Grafton), and Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies Contract W911NF-09-D-0001 from the U.S. Army Research Office (awarded to S. T. Grafton). We thank M. Ebrahimian, K. Paolini, K. Rein, and M. Mendoza for assistance with various parts of this study.
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