Functional-lesion investigation of developmental stuttering with positron emission tomography

Roger J. Ingham, Peter T. Fox, Janis C. Ingham, Frank Zamarripa, Charles Martin, Paul Jerabek, John Cotton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Positron emission tomographic (PET) H215O measurements of resting-state regional cerebral blood flow (CBF) were obtained in 29 right-handed men, 10 of whom stuttered and 19 of whom did not. PET images were analyzed by sampling 74 regions of interest (ROIs), 37 per hemisphere. ROI placement was guided both physiologically and anatomically. Physiological ROI placement was based on speech motor activations. Anatomical ROIs were positioned by reference to a stereotactic, neurosurgical atlas with positions confirmed and finely adjusted by co-registered magnetic-resonance images (MRIs). For all subjects, PET and MR images were normal to visual inspection. Highly significant (p < 0.0001) between-region and between-hemisphere effects were found for both groups, as have been previously reported for normal subjects, but no significant between-group differences were found for any regional CBF values. Analysis by a laterality index found a weakly significant between-groups effect (p = 0.04) that was isolated to five regions, four of which are implicated in speech or hearing. However, these regional laterality effects showed no consistent directionality, nor did these regions have absolute differences in regional blood flow between groups. Present findings do not support recent suggestions that developmental stuttering is associated with abnormalities of brain blood flow at rest. Rather, our findings indicate an essentially normal functional brain terrain with a small number of minor differences in hemispheric symmetry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1208-1227
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1996


  • Functional-lesion
  • PET (positron emission tomography)
  • Stuttering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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