Stuttering Linked To Decreased Blood Flow to Broca’s Area in Brain Interview with:

Jay Desai, M.D. Neurologist, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Assistant Professor, Keck School of Medicine of USC

Dr. Jay Desai

Jay Desai, M.D.
Neurologist, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Assistant Professor, Keck School of Medicine of USC What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We obtained measures of blood flow at rest from all regions of brain using an MRI technique called pulsed arterial spin labeling in 26 participants (children and adults) with stuttering. We compared these blood flow measures with those from 36 fluent controls. We found decreased blood flow in Broca’s region in participants with stuttering when compared to the fluent controls. The amount of blood flow correlated inversely with the severity of stuttering and these findings extended into other portions of the language loop. We also detected alterations in blood flow in other brain regions including superior frontal gyrus, cerebellar nuclei and parietal cortex. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Findings from this study as well as other recently published results from our laboratory and others suggest that disturbances in Broca’s area may be of key causal importance in persons who stutter. Abnormalities in the rest of the language loop appear to contribute to stuttering and influence its severity. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: This study advances our understanding of the pathogenesis of stuttering. Therapeutic targets can be identified once we have full understanding of this disabling condition. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: We would like to thank Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the Millhiser Family Trust, the Suzanne Murphy Crosby Endowment and NIMH for generously supporting our work. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Desai, J., Huo, Y., Wang, Z., Bansal, R., Williams, S. C. R., Lythgoe, D., Zelaya, F. O. and Peterson, B. S. (2016), Reduced perfusion in Broca’s area in developmental stuttering. Hum. Brain Mapp.. doi: 10.1002/hbm.23487

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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