Perisylvian Sulcal Morphology and Cerebral Asymmetry Patterns in Adults Who Stutter


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Abstract

Previous investigations of cerebral anatomy in persistent developmental stutterers have reported bilateral anomalies in the perisylvian region and atypical patterns of cerebral asymmetry. In this study, perisylvian sulcal patterns were analyzed to compare subjects with persistent developmental stuttering (PDS) and an age-, hand-, and gender-matched control group. This analysis was accomplished using software designed for 3-dimensional sulcal identification and extraction. Patterns of cerebral asymmetry were also investigated with standard planimetric measurements. PDS subjects showed a small but significant increase in both the number of sulci connecting with the second segment of the right Sylvian fissure and in the number of suprasylvian gyral banks (of sulci) along this segment. No differences were seen in the left perisylvian region for either sulcal number or gyral bank number. Measurements of asymmetry revealed typical patterns of cerebral asymmetry in both groups with no significant differences in frontal and occipital width asymmetry, frontal and occipital pole asymmetry, or planum temporale and Sylvian fissure asymmetries. The subtle difference in cortical folding of the right perisylvian region observed in PDS subjects may correlate with functional imaging studies that have reported increased right-hemisphere activity during stuttered speech.

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