Children with unusually delayed speech tend to listen with the right side of the brain rather than the left side of the brain, according to a study published in the December issue of the journal Radiology. Preliminary study results were presented at the Radiological Society of North Americas (RSNA) Annual Meeting in 2002.
The research represents the first time functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been used to investigate brain activity associated with speech delay. "With the advent of neuroimaging, we saw a new way of looking at language disorders," said Nolan R. Altman, M.D., co-author of the study and chief of radiology at Miami Childrens Hospital.
The researchers completed fMRI studies on 17 abnormally speech-delayed children and 35 age-matched children without delayed speech to compare the brain activation patterns between the two groups. To study the brains reaction to passive language, the childrens brains were imaged as they listened to audiotapes of their mothers. The children were between ages 2 and 8 with a mean age of approximately 4 ½ years.
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