Cortical activity during speech and non-speech oromotor tasks: a magnetoencephalography (MEG) study.

Neuroscience letters

PubMedID: 22926020

Memarian N, Ferrari P, MacDonald MJ, Cheyne D, De Nil LF, Pang EW. Cortical activity during speech and non-speech oromotor tasks: a magnetoencephalography (MEG) study. Neurosci Lett. 2012;527(1):34-9.
We used whole-head magnetoencephalography to investigate cortical activity during two oromotor activities foundational to speech production. 13 adults performed mouth opening and phoneme (/pa/) production tasks to a visual cue. Jaw movements were tracked with an ultrasound-emitting device. Trials were time-locked to both stimulus onset and peak of jaw displacement. An event-related beamformer source reconstruction algorithm was used to detect areas of cortical activity for each condition. Beamformer output was submitted to iterative K-means clustering analyses. The time course of neural activity at each cluster centroid was computed for each individual and condition. Peaks were identified and latencies submitted for statistical analysis to reveal the relative timing of activity in each brain region. Stimulus locked activations for the mouth open task included a progression from left cuneus to left frontal and then right pre-central gyrus. Phoneme generation revealed the same sequence but with bilateral frontal activation. When time locked to jaw displacement, the mouth open condition showed left frontal followed by right frontal-temporal areas. Phoneme generation showed a complicated sequence of bilateral temporal and frontal areas. This study used three unique approaches (beamforming, clustering and jaw tracking) to demonstrate the temporal progression of neural activations that underlie the motor control of two simple oromotor tasks. These findings have implications for understanding clinical conditions with deficits in articulatory control or motor speech planning.