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 journalArticle

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
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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