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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
Subjects for the research proposed here will include children and
adults with acquired and developmental language disorders:
1. language difficulties following traumatic head injury
Note: Loss of speech understanding in instances of closed
head injury was attributed to trauma caused by impact
from the cerebellar tentorium in 3 cases
Most head injuries result in traumatic injury of wide areas
of the brain, but tentorial impact may also occur in many of
these cases.
If traumatic injury of the inferior colliculi is seen with MRI
(as in the case of the ski accident), decreased activity with
fMRI would also be anticipated, and could be compared
with activity levels determined in individuals with
developmental language disorders.
2. Adults with language problems persisting from
childhood, such as autism, Asperger syndrome,
dyslexia, stuttering, or hearing impairment.
3. Children with developmental delay learning to speak associated with
autism, Asperger syndrome, and/or hearing impairment.
4. Children with cochlear implants (note, MRI is being used following
implantation [74-76].
5. Children with problems like stuttering or difficulty learning to read.
6. Adults with presbyacusis, which may result from loss of function in
the inferior colliculi [77-81].
7. Adults and children (for whom permission can be obtained) with no
childhood or current language disorder.
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Refs >>
October 2006
Working version