Brain volumetric correlates of dysarthria in multiple sclerosis

Brain Lang. 2019 Jul;194:58-64. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2019.04.009. Epub 2019 May 15.


Although dysarthria is a common pattern in multiple sclerosis (MS), the contribution of specific brain areas to key factors of dysarthria remains unknown. Speech data were acquired from 123 MS patients with Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) ranging from 1 to 6.5 and 60 matched healthy controls. Results of computerized acoustic analyses of subtests on spastic and ataxic aspects of dysarthria were correlated with MRI-based brain volume measurements. Slow articulation rate during reading was associated with bilateral white and grey matter loss whereas reduced maximum speed during oral diadochokinesis was related to greater cerebellar involvement. Articulation rate showed similar correlation to whole brain atrophy (r = 0.46, p < 0.001) as the standard clinical scales such as EDSS (r = -0.45, p < 0.001). Our results support the critical role of the pyramidal tract and cerebellum in the modification of motor speech timing in MS.

Keywords: Acoustic analyses; Brain atrophy; Dysarthria; MRI; Morphometry; Multiple sclerosis; Speech.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atrophy / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Dysarthria / diagnostic imaging*
  • Dysarthria / etiology
  • Female
  • Gray Matter / diagnostic imaging
  • Gray Matter / pathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Reading