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Cortical responses to speech sounds and their formants in normal infants: maturational sequence and spatiotemporal analysis

Cortical responses to speech sounds and their formants in normal infants: maturational sequence and spatiotemporal analysis

Electroencephalography & Clinical Neurophysiology 73(4): 295-305

Cortical auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) to the synthesized syllables da and ta and to the isolated 3 formants of da were obtained from 32 normal infants studied at monthly intervals from birth through 3 months and at 6 months of age. A bilateral array of 16 electrodes referenced to the mid-occiput permitted a topographic analysis of the cortical AEPs at selected latencies. A differential maturational sequence was seen: a predominantly negative cortical AEP wave form became positive, first over the frontocentral region (around term), and then over the temporal region (at 1-2 months). The timing of these electrophysical changes coincides with a differential anatomical maturational sequence in the auditory cortex, as myelination and synaptogenesis are more advanced in primary than secondary auditory areas at term. All infants in this study followed this developmental sequence. However, there was no systematic effect of the center frequency of the format stimuli on the maturational level of their respective cortical AEPs, suggesting a relative maturational equivalence in those regions of auditory cortex responding to stimuli across the frequency range present in human speech. In term infants, an initial midline positivity and bitemporal negativities were asynchronous in their peak and offset latencies, suggesting independent generators for each of these components. In infants from 3 to 6 months of age, cortical AEP wave forms consisted of 2 initial positive peaks followed by a negative peak. While the wave forms were similar over midline and lateral scalp, spatiotemporal analysis revealed differences in the latency of onset, duration and in the spatial extent of these components, again suggesting that 2 bilateral, temporally overlapping generators contribute to the cortical AEP. No systematic topographic difference was observed in the cortical AEPs elicited by each of the 3 formats, which differed in center frequencies.

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Accession: 007165006

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PMID: 2477216

DOI: 10.1016/0013-4694(89)90108-9

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