Neuroanatomical correlates of childhood stuttering: MRI indices of white and gray matter development that differentiate persistence versus recovery

Emily O. Garnett, Ho Ming Chow, Soo Eun Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: We review two recent neuroanatomical studies of children who stutter (CWS), one that examines white matter integrity and the other that focuses on cortical gray matter morphology. In both studies, we sought to examine differences between children whose stuttering persists (“persistent”), children who recovered from stuttering (“recovered”), and their nonstuttering peers (“controls”). Method: Both of the reviewed studies use data from a large pediatric sample spanning preschool- to school-age children (3-10 years old at initial testing). Study 1 focused on surface-based measures of cortical size (thickness) and shape (gyrification) using structural magnetic resonance imaging, whereas Study 2 utilized diffusion tensor imaging to examine white matter integrity. Results: In both studies, the main difference that emerged between CWS and fluent peers encompassed left hemisphere speech motor areas that are interconnected via the arcuate fasciculus. In the case of white matter integrity, the temporoparietal junction and posterior superior temporal gyrus, both connected via the left arcuate fasciculus, and regions along the corpus callosum that contain fibers connecting bilateral motor regions were significantly decreased in white matter integrity in CWS compared to controls. In the morphometric study, children who would go on to have persistent stuttering specifically had lower cortical thickness in ventral motor and premotor areas of the left hemisphere. Conclusion: These results point to aberrant development of cortical areas involved in integrating sensory feedback with speech movements in CWS and differences in interhemispheric connectivity between the two motor cortices. Furthermore, developmental trajectories in these areas seem to diverge between persistent and recovered cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2986-2998
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number8S
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.


Dive into the research topics of 'Neuroanatomical correlates of childhood stuttering: MRI indices of white and gray matter development that differentiate persistence versus recovery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this