Clustered functional MRI of overt speech production

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To investigate the neural network of overt speech production, event-related fMRI was performed in 9 young healthy adult volunteers. A clustered image acquisition technique was chosen to minimize speech-related movement artifacts. Functional images were acquired during the production of oral movements and of speech of increasing complexity (isolated vowel as well as monosyllabic and trisyllabic utterances). This imaging technique and behavioral task enabled depiction of the articulo-phonologic network of speech production from the supplementary motor area at the cranial end to the red nucleus at the caudal end. Speaking a single vowel and performing simple oral movements involved very similar activation of the cortical and subcortical motor systems. More complex, polysyllabic utterances were associated with additional activation in the bilateral cerebellum, reflecting increased demand on speech motor control, and additional activation in the bilateral temporal cortex, reflecting the stronger involvement of phonologic processing.

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