Several diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies have reported fractional anisotropy (FA) reductions within the left perisylvian white matter (WM) of persistent developmental stutterers (PSs). However, these studies have not reached the same conclusions in regard to the presence, spatial distribution (focal/diffuse), and directionality (elevated/reduced) of FA differences outside of the left perisylvian region. In addition, supplemental DTI measures (axial and radial diffusivities, diffusion trace) have yet to be utilized to examine the potential etiology of these FA reductions. Therefore, the present study sought to reexamine earlier findings through a sex- and age-controlled replication analysis and then to extend these findings with the aforementioned non-FA measures. The replication analysis showed that robust FA reductions in PSs were largely focal, left hemispheric, and within late-myelinating associative and commissural fibers (division III of the left superior longitudinal fasciculus, callosal body, forceps minor of the corpus callosum). Additional DTI measures revealed that these FA reductions were attributable to an increase in diffusion perpendicular to the affected fiber tracts (elevated radial diffusivity). These findings suggest a hypothesis that will be testable in future studies: that myelogenesis may be abnormal in PSs within left-hemispheric fiber tracts that begin a prolonged course of myelination in the first postnatal year.
- Developmental stuttering
- Radial diffusivity
- Superior longitudinal fasciculus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience