Conclusions: Owing to the known extensive spectrum of cortical and subcortical somatosensory and motor connections, it seems that the IC might be one region involved in the generation of speech motor execution.
from the European Journal of Neurology
Previous research has suggested that the left anterior insula, specifically the superior precentral gyrus of the insula (SPGI), is a critical brain region for the coordination of complex articulatory movements. However, previous studies have not determined which articulatory factors are specifically dependent on this brain region. In the current study, 33 left hemisphere stroke patients with varying degrees of speech impairment were asked to perform multiple repetitions of single words that varied along three separate dimensions: number of syllables, degree of articulatory travel (i.e., change between places of articulation for consonants), and presence/absence of an initial consonant cluster. The role of the SPGI in performance across the three conditions was determined using voxel-based lesion symptom mapping (VLSM), a statistical approach to lesion analysis that does not require separating patients based on lesion site or symptom profile. Rather, continuous performance data are entered, along with lesions reconstructed in normalized space. Based on preliminary analyses, there was adequate power to detect differences in the SPGI, which was the focus of our predictions. We found that the SPGI was critical for performance on the articulation task across all three conditions, namely, when words were multi-syllabic, required a high degree of travel, or involved an initial consonant cluster. As a control, we also generated a VLSM map for articulation of words with minimal articulatory complexity (i.e., single-syllable words with no initial cluster and a minimal change in place of articulation). In this case, the SPGI was not implicated. The current results suggest that the left SPGI is a critical area for intra- and inter-syllabic coordination of complex articulatory movements, prior to end-stage execution of speech commands.
Differential language expertise related to white matter architecture in regions subserving sensory-motor coupling, articulation, and interhemispheric transfer
The technique of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has been used to investigate alterations in white matter architecture following long-term training and expertise. Professional simultaneous interpreters (SI) provide an ideal model for the investigation of training-induced plasticity due to the high demands placed on sound to motor mapping mechanisms, which are vital for executing fast interpretations. In line with our hypothesis, we found clusters with decreased fractional anisotropy (FA) in the SI group in brain regions previously shown to support sensory-motor coupling mechanisms and speech articulation (cluster extent family-wise error corrected, P < 0.01). Furthermore, we found an altered white matter architecture indicated by lower FA values in the SI group in the most anterior and posterior parts of the corpus callosum. Our results suggest that language expertise is accompanied by plastic adaptations in regions strongly involved in motor aspects of speech and in interhemispheric information transfer. These results have implications for our understanding of language expertise in relation to white matter adaptations. Hum Brain Mapp, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
from Human Brain Mapping
The contribution(s) of the insula to speech production: a review of the clinical and functional imaging literature
Skilled spoken language production requires fast and accurate coordination of up to 100 muscles. A long-standing concept—tracing ultimately back to Paul Broca—assumes posterior parts of the inferior frontal gyrus to support the orchestration of the respective movement sequences prior to innervation of the vocal tract. At variance with this tradition, the insula has more recently been declared the relevant “region for coordinating speech articulation”, based upon clinico-neuroradiological correlation studies. However, these findings have been criticized on methodological grounds. A survey of the clinical literature (cerebrovascular disorders, brain tumours, stimulation mapping) yields a still inconclusive picture. By contrast, functional imaging studies report more consistently hemodynamic insular responses in association with motor aspects of spoken language. Most noteworthy, a relatively small area at the junction of insular and opercular cortex was found sensitive to the phonetic-linguistic structure of verbal utterances, a strong argument for its engagement in articulatory control processes. Nevertheless, intrasylvian hemodynamic activation does not appear restricted to articulatory processes and might also be engaged in the adjustment of the autonomic system to ventilatory needs during speech production: Whereas the posterior insula could be involved in the cortical representation of respiration-related metabolic (interoceptive) states, the more rostral components, acting upon autonomic functions, might serve as a corollary pathway to “voluntary control of breathing” bound to corticospinal and -bulbar fiber tracts. For example, the insula could participate in the implementation of task-specific autonomic settings such as the maintenance of a state of relative hyperventilation during speech production.
Multiple disturbances following lesions of the insula are reviewed in the present article, including those related to autonomic function; gustatory, olfactory, auditory, somatosensory, and multimodal perception, as well as body awareness; the emotion of disgust; mood and willed action, addiction behavior, and language. Given the multiple and varied nature of the impairments revealed by lesion studies, we suggest that the insula, as a multimodal area, has a major role as a convergence zone implicated in the coordination between internal and external information through emotional subjective awareness. Methodological issues are discussed with attention paid to lesion etiology, and lesions involving adjacent areas to the insular cortex.
Modulation of Frontal Lobe Speech Areas Associated with the Production and Perception of Speech Movements
Conclusions: These results support the emerging view that cortical areas involved in the execution of speech movements are also recruited in the perception of the same movements in other speakers.