The inferior colliculus may play a special role in
analysis of the acoustic features of speech.
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Research Proposal
Speech understanding
Inferior colliculus lesions
Brainstem aphasia?

fMRI of the inferior colliculi
Testing strategies
Anticipated results

Working hypotheses
Language areas on fMRI
Effects of asphyxia at birth
Maturation of the brain
Time-table of myelination
Learning to speak "by ear"
Metabolism in the brain
Protective mechanisms
Catastrophic factors
Brainstem damage
Injury in a skiing accident resulted in a
"punctate hematoma" affecting the
inferior colliculi bilaterally (right).  
Compare with the normal appearance
of the inferior colliculi (bottom picture).
The skier, whose MRI is shown here,
was one of the 9 cases in which
comprehension of spoken language
was lost following bilateral injury of
the inferior colliculi.
Impact from the free edge of the
cerebellar tentorium was thought to
have caused this injury.
How much more serious
such an injury would be
for an infant, who had
not yet begun to speak!
From Johkura K et al. J Neurol Sci 1998;161:91–96.
October 2006
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Working version