Stuttering: A dynamic motor control disorder

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The purpose of this review is to determine what neural mechanisms may be dysfunctional in stuttering. Three sources of evidence are reviewed. First, studies of dynamic inter-relationships among brain regions during normal speech and in persons who stutter (PWS) suggest that the timing of neural activity in different regions may be abnormal in PWS. Second, the brain lesions associated with acquired stuttering are reviewed. These indicate that in a high percentage of cases, the primary speech and language regions are not affected but lesions involve other structures, such as the basal ganglia, which may modulate the primary speech and language regions. Third, to characterize the motor control disorder in stuttering, similarities and differences from focal dystonias such as spasmodic dysphonia (SD) and Tourette's syndrome (TS) are reviewed. This review indicates that the central control abnormalities in stuttering are not due to disturbance in one particular brain region but rather a system dysfunction that interferes with rapid and dynamic speech processing for production. Educational objectives: The reader will be able to describe: (1) the similarities and differences between stuttering and other speech motor control disorders, (2) which brain lesions are most likely to produce acquired stuttering in adults, and (3) what type of brain abnormality most likely underlies stuttering. © 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




Ludlow, C. L., & Loucks, T. (2003). Stuttering: A dynamic motor control disorder. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 28(4), 273–295.

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