Left Pars-Opercularis Altered in Persistent Stuttering

Intervention does not impact resting-state functional connectivity, cortical thickness in left PO

Left Pars-Opercularis Altered in Persistent Stuttering

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- The left pars-opercularis (PO) appears to be the region of the brain responsible for speech-language processes that is altered in patients with persistent developmental stuttering (PDS), according to a study published online Aug. 8 in Neurology.

To differentiate between neural anomalies that are responsible for PDS and those which are a result of compensation for stuttering, Chunming Lu, Ph.D., from the Beijing Normal University, and colleagues examined the resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) and cortical thickness in 15 patients with PDS who received a short-term intervention, 13 patients with PDS who did not receive the intervention, and 13 fluent controls.

The researchers found that, before the intervention, compared with fluent controls, both groups of PDS patients showed significant reductions in RSFC and cortical thickness in the left PO, and RSFC increases in the cerebellum. In PDS patients the intervention was effective for reducing stuttering and lowered the RSFC in the cerebellum to the level of fluent controls. RSFC and cortical thickness in the left PO were not affected by the intervention and remained at the preintervention level.

"The results suggest that the left PO is a locus where the intrinsic functional architecture of speech-language processes is altered in PDS patients, suggesting an etiologic role of this region in PDS," the authors write. "The cerebellum showed intervention-induced neural reorganization, suggesting a compensatory response when stuttering occurs."

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