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Neuropsychologia. 2003;41(4):401-6.

Motor cortex hand area and speech: implications for the development of language.

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Department of Neurology, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Pauwelsstrasse 30, Aachen 52074, Germany.


Recently a growing body of evidence has suggested that a functional link exists between the hand motor area of the language dominant hemisphere and the regions subserving language processing. We examined the excitability of the hand motor area and the leg motor area during reading aloud and during non-verbal oral movements using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). During reading aloud, but not before or afterwards, excitability was increased in the hand motor area of the dominant hemisphere. This reading effect was found to be independent of the duration of speech. No such effect could be found in the contralateral hemisphere. The excitability of the leg area of the motor cortex remained unchanged during reading aloud. The excitability during non-verbal oral movements was slightly increased in both hemispheres. Our results are consistent with previous findings and may indicate a specific functional connection between the hand motor area and the cortical language network.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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