Speech, language and oromotor skills in patients with polymicrogyria

Objective: To determine whether specific speech, language and oromotor profiles are associated with different patterns of polymicrogyria (PMG), we assessed 52 patients with PMG using a battery of standardised tests and correlated findings with topography and severity of PMG.

Methods: Patients were identified via clinical research databases and invited to participate, irrespective of cognitive and verbal language abilities. We conducted standardised assessments of speech, oromotor structure and function, language and nonverbal IQ. Data were analysed according to normative assessment data and descriptive statistics. We conducted a correlation analysis between topographic pattern and speech and language findings.

Results: 52 patients (33 males, 63%) were studied at an average age of 12.7 years (range 2.5-36 years). All patients had dysarthria, which ranged from mild impairment to anarthria. Developmental speech errors (articulation and phonology), oral motor structure and function deficits and language disorder were frequent. 23/29 (79%) had cognitive abilities in the low average to extremely low range. In the perisylvian PMG group (36/52), speech, everyday language and oral motor impairments were more severe, compared to generalised (1 patient), frontal (3), PMG with periventricular nodular heterotopia (3), parasagittal parieto-occipital (1), mesial occipital (1) and other (7) patterns.

Conclusions: Dysarthria is a core feature of PMG, often accompanied by receptive and expressive language impairments. These features are associated with all PMG distribution patterns and more severe in individuals with bilateral PMG, particularly in the perisylvian region.

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