Functional and structural aging of the speech sensorimotor neural system: functional magnetic resonance imaging evidence

Pascale Tremblay, Anthony S. Dick, Steven L. Small

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The ability to perceive and produce speech undergoes important changes in late adulthood. The goal of the present study was to characterize functional and structural age-related differences in the cortical network that support speech perception and production, using magnetic resonance imaging, as well as the relationship between functional and structural age-related changes occurring in this network. We asked young and older adults to observe videos of a speaker producing single words (perception), and to observe and repeat the words produced (production). Results show a widespread bilateral network of brain activation for Perception and Production that was not correlated with age. In addition, several regions did show age-related change (auditory cortex, planum temporale, superior temporal sulcus, premotor cortices, SMA-proper). Examination of the relationship between brain signal and regional and global gray matter volume and cortical thickness revealed a complex set of relationships between structure and function, with some regions showing a relationship between structure and function and some not. The present results provide novel findings about the neurobiology of aging and verbal communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1935e1951
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain reserve capacity
  • Gray matter volume
  • Language
  • MRI
  • Normal aging
  • Speech perception
  • Speech production
  • Surface-based cortical thickness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Developmental Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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