Reorganization of brain function after a short-term behavioral intervention for stuttering

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Abstract

This study investigated changes in brain function that occurred over a 7-day behavioral intervention for adults who stutter (AWS). Thirteen AWS received the intervention (AWS+), and 13 AWS did not receive the intervention (AWS−). There were 13 fluent controls (FC−). All participants were scanned before and after the intervention. Whole-brain analysis pre-intervention showed significant differences in task-related brain activation between AWS and FC− in the right inferior frontal cortex (IFC) and left middle temporal cortex, but there were no differences between the two AWS groups. Across the 7-day period of the intervention, AWS+ alone showed a significant increase of brain activation in the left ventral IFC/insula. There were no changes in brain function for the other two groups. Further analysis revealed that the change did not correlate with resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) that AWS showed in the cerebellum (Lu et al., 2012). However, both changes in task-related brain function and RSFC correlated with changes in speech fluency level. Together, these findings suggest that functional reorganization in a brain region close to the left IFC that shows anomalous function in AWS, occurs after a short-term behavioral intervention for stuttering.

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