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Brain and Language


 Atypical neural synchronization to speech envelope modulations in dyslexia

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Publication date: January 2017
Source:Brain and Language, Volume 164
Author(s): Astrid De Vos, Sophie Vanvooren, Jolijn Vanderauwera, Pol Ghesquière, Jan Wouters
A fundamental deficit in the synchronization of neural oscillations to temporal information in speech could underlie phonological processing problems in dyslexia. In this study, the hypothesis of a neural synchronization impairment is investigated more specifically as a function of different neural oscillatory bands and temporal information rates in speech. Auditory steady-state responses to 4, 10, 20 and 40Hz modulations were recorded in normal reading and dyslexic adolescents to measure neural synchronization of theta, alpha, beta and low-gamma oscillations to syllabic and phonemic rate information. In comparison to normal readers, dyslexic readers showed reduced non-synchronized theta activity, reduced synchronized alpha activity and enhanced synchronized beta activity. Positive correlations between alpha synchronization and phonological skills were found in normal readers, but were absent in dyslexic readers. In contrast, dyslexic readers exhibited positive correlations between beta synchronization and phonological skills. Together, these results suggest that auditory neural synchronization of alpha and beta oscillations is atypical in dyslexia, indicating deviant neural processing of both syllabic and phonemic rate information. Impaired synchronization of alpha oscillations in particular demonstrated to be the most prominent neural anomaly possibly hampering speech and phonological processing in dyslexic readers.



 Atypical neural synchronization to speech envelope modulations in dyslexia

S0093934X.gif

Publication date: January 2017
Source:Brain and Language, Volume 164
Author(s): Astrid De Vos, Sophie Vanvooren, Jolijn Vanderauwera, Pol Ghesquière, Jan Wouters
A fundamental deficit in the synchronization of neural oscillations to temporal information in speech could underlie phonological processing problems in dyslexia. In this study, the hypothesis of a neural synchronization impairment is investigated more specifically as a function of different neural oscillatory bands and temporal information rates in speech. Auditory steady-state responses to 4, 10, 20 and 40Hz modulations were recorded in normal reading and dyslexic adolescents to measure neural synchronization of theta, alpha, beta and low-gamma oscillations to syllabic and phonemic rate information. In comparison to normal readers, dyslexic readers showed reduced non-synchronized theta activity, reduced synchronized alpha activity and enhanced synchronized beta activity. Positive correlations between alpha synchronization and phonological skills were found in normal readers, but were absent in dyslexic readers. In contrast, dyslexic readers exhibited positive correlations between beta synchronization and phonological skills. Together, these results suggest that auditory neural synchronization of alpha and beta oscillations is atypical in dyslexia, indicating deviant neural processing of both syllabic and phonemic rate information. Impaired synchronization of alpha oscillations in particular demonstrated to be the most prominent neural anomaly possibly hampering speech and phonological processing in dyslexic readers.



 The hearing ear is always found close to the speaking tongue: Review of the role of the motor system in speech perception

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Publication date: January 2017
Source:Brain and Language, Volume 164
Author(s): Jeremy I. Skipper, Joseph T. Devlin, Daniel R. Lametti
Does “the motor system” play “a role” in speech perception? If so, where, how, and when? We conducted a systematic review that addresses these questions using both qualitative and quantitative methods. The qualitative review of behavioural, computational modelling, non-human animal, brain damage/disorder, electrical stimulation/recording, and neuroimaging research suggests that distributed brain regions involved in producing speech play specific, dynamic, and contextually determined roles in speech perception. The quantitative review employed region and network based neuroimaging meta-analyses and a novel text mining method to describe relative contributions of nodes in distributed brain networks. Supporting the qualitative review, results show a specific functional correspondence between regions involved in non-linguistic movement of the articulators, covertly and overtly producing speech, and the perception of both nonword and word sounds. This distributed set of cortical and subcortical speech production regions are ubiquitously active and form multiple networks whose topologies dynamically change with listening context. Results are inconsistent with motor and acoustic only models of speech perception and classical and contemporary dual-stream models of the organization of language and the brain. Instead, results are more consistent with complex network models in which multiple speech production related networks and subnetworks dynamically self-organize to constrain interpretation of indeterminant acoustic patterns as listening context requires.


 Investigating the feasibility of using transcranial direct current stimulation to enhance fluency in people who stutter

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Publication date: January 2017
Source:Brain and Language, Volume 164
Author(s): Jennifer Chesters, Kate E. Watkins, Riikka Möttönen
Developmental stuttering is a disorder of speech fluency affecting 1% of the adult population. Long-term reductions in stuttering are difficult for adults to achieve with behavioural therapies. We investigated whether a single session of transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) could improve fluency in people who stutter (PWS). In separate sessions, either anodal TDCS (1mA for 20min) or sham stimulation was applied over the left inferior frontal cortex while PWS read sentences aloud. Fluency was induced during the stimulation period by using choral speech, that is, participants read in unison with another speaker. Stuttering frequency during sentence reading, paragraph reading and conversation was measured at baseline and at two outcome time points: immediately after the stimulation period and 1h later. Stuttering was reduced significantly at both outcome time points for the sentence-reading task, presumably due to practice, but not during the paragraph reading or conversation tasks. None of the outcome measures were significantly modulated by anodal TDCS. Although the results of this single-session study showed no significant TDCS-induced improvements in fluency, there were some indications that further research is warranted. We discuss factors that we believe may have obscured the expected positive effects of TDCS on fluency, such as heterogeneity in stuttering severity for the sample and variations across sessions. Consideration of such factors may inform future studies aimed at determining the potential of TDCS in the treatment of developmental stuttering.


 The unbridged gap between clinical diagnosis and contemporary research on aphasia: A short discussion on the validity and clinical utility of taxonomic categories

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Publication date: January 2017
Source:Brain and Language, Volume 164
Author(s): Dimitrios S. Kasselimis, Panagiotis G. Simos, Christos Peppas, Ioannis Evdokimidis, Constantin Potagas
Even if the traditional aphasia classification is continuously questioned by many scholars, it remains widely accepted among clinicians and included in textbooks as the gold standard. The present study aims to investigate the validity and clinical utility of this taxonomy. For this purpose, 65 left-hemisphere stroke patients were assessed and classified with respect to aphasia type based on performance on a Greek adaptation of the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination. MRI and/or CT scans were obtained for each patient and lesions were identified and coded according to location. Results indicate that 26.5% of the aphasic profiles remained unclassified. More importantly, we failed to confirm the traditional lesion-to-syndrome correspondence for 63.5% of patients. Overall, our findings elucidate crucial vulnerabilities of the neo-associationist classification, and further support a deficit-rather than a syndrome-based approach. The issue of unclassifiable patients is also discussed.

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