Background and Purpose - Apraxia of speech (AOS) is a motor speech disorder, which is clinically characterized by the combination of phonemic segmental changes and articulatory distortions. AOS has been believed to arise from impairment in motor speech planning/programming and differentiated from both aphasia and dysarthria. The brain regions associated with AOS are still a matter of debate. The aim of this study was to address this issue in a large number of consecutive acute ischemic stroke patients. Methods - We retrospectively studied 136 patients with isolated nonlacunar infarcts in the left middle cerebral artery territory (70.5±12.9 years old, 79 males). In accordance with speech and language assessments, the patients were classified into the following groups: pure form of AOS (pure AOS), AOS with aphasia (AOS-aphasia), and without AOS (non-AOS). Voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping analysis was performed on T2-weighted images or fluid-attenuated inversion recovery images. Using the Liebermeister method, group-wise comparisons were made between the all AOS (pure AOS plus AOS-aphasia) and non-AOS, pure AOS and non-AOS, AOS-aphasia and non-AOS, and pure AOS and AOS-aphasia groups. Results - Of the 136 patients, 22 patients were diagnosed with AOS (7 patients with pure AOS and 15 patients with AOS-aphasia). The voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping analysis demonstrated that the brain regions associated with AOS were centered on the left precentral gyrus. Conclusions - Damage to the left precentral gyrus is associated with AOS in acute to subacute stroke patients, suggesting a role of this brain region in motor speech production.
ASJC Scopus subject areas