The 1980s witnessed renewed interest in the relation between developmental stuttering and central nervous system (CNS) abnormalities. We have reported differences between nonstutterers and developmental stutterers on electrophysiologic (QTE) and metabolic (rCBF) measures of brain function. A critical step in the interpretation of results of functional brain imaging studies is to determine the relation, if any, of identified CNS abnormalities to speech motor control in persons who stutter. In this study we addressed the interpretation of rCBF findings by asking whether we could identify patterns of impaired acoustic laryngeal reaction time (LRT) as a function of response complexity parallel to rCBF findings. Stutterer subgroups determined by clinical severity ratings were not differentiated by LRT values as a function of response complexity. Stutterers with relative blood flow asymmetry below the normal median value involving both left superior and middle temporal regions of interest (ROIs) showed significantly longer LRT for the complex response than did normal speakers and stutterers with above- normal median relative flow values to at least one of these temporal ROIs. Stutterer subgroups based on reduced cingulate flow alone were not differentiated by LRT values. Findings are consistent with Goldberg's (1985) model of CNS premotor processing. Findings also suggest that stutterer subgroups might be distinguished by the presence, loci, and relative magnitude of cortical and/or subcortical rCBF abnormality in regions that subserve a fluency-generating system.
- developmental stuttering
ASJC Scopus subject areas