Altered gray matter volumes in language-associated regions in children with developmental language disorder and speech sound disorder

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Abstract

Developmental language disorder (DLD) and speech sound disorder (SSD) are common, and although scientific evidence for structural and functional alterations in DLD/SSD is accumulating, current neuroimaging studies provide an incongruent picture. Here, we hypothesized that children affected by DLD and SSD present with gray matter (or gray matter asymmetry) aberrations in brain areas associated with language processing compared to typically developing (TD) children. To assess this hypothesis, we enhanced MRI-based information with microscopically defined cytoarchitectonic probabilities of Broca's area (BA 45, BA 44) as well as an auditory area (TE 3.0). We detected a larger rightward gray matter asymmetry in BA 45 in children with DLD (n = 13) and with SSD (n = 18) compared to TD children (n = 18), albeit only on a trend level. Interestingly though, we observed significantly larger gray matter volumes in right BA 45 in DLD compared to SSD children (and also compared to TD children).

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