White matter developmental trajectories associated with persistence and recovery of childhood stuttering

Ho Ming Chow, Soo Eun Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Stuttering affects the fundamental human ability of fluent speech production, and can have a significant negative impact on an individual’s psychosocial development. While the disorder affects about 5% of all preschool children, approximately 80% of them recover naturally within a few years of stuttering onset. The pathophysiology and neuroanatomical development trajectories associated with persistence and recovery of stuttering are still largely unknown. Here, the first mixed longitudinal diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) study of childhood stuttering has been reported. A total of 195 high quality DTI scans from 35 children who stutter (CWS) and 43 controls between 3 and 12 years of age were acquired, with an average of three scans per child, each collected approximately a year apart. Fractional anisotropy (FA), a measure reflecting white matter structural coherence, was analyzed voxel-wise to examine group and age-related differences using a linear mixed-effects (LME) model. Results showed that CWS exhibited decreased FA relative to controls in the left arcuate fasciculus, underlying the inferior parietal and posterior temporal areas, and the mid body of corpus callosum. Further, white matter developmental trajectories reflecting growth rate of these tract regions differentiated children with persistent stuttering from those who recovered from stuttering. Specifically, a reduction in FA growth rate (i.e., slower FA growth with age) in persistent children relative to fluent controls in the left arcuate fasciculus and corpus callosum was found, which was not evident in recovered children. These findings provide first glimpses into the possible neural mechanisms of onset, persistence, and recovery of childhood stuttering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3345-3359
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • Brain development
  • Language
  • Longitudinal study
  • Speech disorder
  • Stuttering


Dive into the research topics of 'White matter developmental trajectories associated with persistence and recovery of childhood stuttering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this