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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1999 Aug 20;49(3):197-206.

Magnetic resonance imaging procedures to study the concurrent anatomic development of vocal tract structures: preliminary results.

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Department of Communicative Disorders, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.


The vocal tract structures undergo drastic anatomic restructuring during the course of development from infancy to adulthood. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using MRI to examine the growth processes of the vocal tract. This method affords precise and detailed visualization of the soft tissues in the oro-pharyngeal region, while also providing images of related bony and cartilaginous structures. Information on anatomic restructuring contributes to the understanding of how speech emerges and develops, and it also establishes normative information that can be used in the assessment of developmental anomalies. This paper describes the method used to measure and examine the concurrent anatomic development of the various vocal tract structures during early childhood. Preliminary results from two pediatric subjects indicate that there is synchrony of growth in the different structures-both soft and hard tissues-, and that such synchronous growth appears to persist during periods of growth spurts.

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