Sixth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing
(ICSLP 2000)

Beijing, China
October 16-20, 2000

Brain Regions Responsible for Word Retrieval, Speech Production and Deficient Word Fluency in Elderly People: A PET Activation Study

Itaru F. Tatsumi (1), Michio Senda (2), Kenji Ishii (2), Masahiro Mishina (3), Masashi Oyama (3), Hinako Toyama (4), Keiichi Oda (2), Masayuki Tanaka (5), Yasuyuki Gondo (6)

(1) Language & Cognition, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, Japan
(2) PET Center, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, Japan
(3) Internal Medicine II, Nihon Medical School, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
(4) National Institute of Radiological Sciences, Chiba, Japan
(5) Primate Institute, University of Kyoto, Kanrin, Inuyama, Aichi, Japan
(6) Psychology, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, Japan

A PET (positron emission tomography) activation study using word-fluency tasks was administered to identify the network for word retrieval and speech production, and to explore mechanisms for word finding difficulty observed in elderly people. It was found that the left anterior insula, as opposed to Broca’s area, left premotor area, the anterior cingulate gyrus, thalamus, basal ganglia, midbrain and cerebellum constitute the network for speech production. In semantic processing for word retrieval of proper names, the left anterior temporal lobe and frontal pole (BA 10) were activated. As for the animate and inanimate name retrieval, and the syllable fluency the same areas, viz., the left inferoposterior temporal lobe (BA 37) and left inferior frontal lobe (Broca’s area), were activated.

In elderly people an activated area was generally small, and those regions activated in young people were sometimes inactive. However, an great, stable and diffuse activation was also observed. The latter may reflect an effort to compensate for deficient word retrieval. These are possible sources of word finding difficulty in the elderly.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Tatsumi, Itaru F. / Senda, Michio / Ishii, Kenji / Mishina, Masahiro / Oyama, Masashi / Toyama, Hinako / Oda, Keiichi / Tanaka, Masayuki / Gondo, Yasuyuki (2000): "Brain regions responsible for word retrieval, speech production and deficient word fluency in elderly people: a PET activation study", In ICSLP-2000, vol.2, 5-10.