A systematic literature review of neuroimaging research on developmental stuttering between 1995 and 2016

Andrew C. Etchell, Oren Civier, Kirrie J. Ballard, Paul F. Sowman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Purpose: Stuttering is a disorder that affects millions of people all over the world. Over the past two decades, there has been a great deal of interest in investigating the neural basis of the disorder. This systematic literature review is intended to provide a comprehensive summary of the neuroimaging literature on developmental stuttering. It is a resource for researchers to quickly and easily identify relevant studies for their areas of interest and enable them to determine the most appropriate methodology to utilize in their work. The review also highlights gaps in the literature in terms of methodology and areas of research. Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review on neuroimaging studies on developmental stuttering according to the PRISMA guidelines. We searched for articles in the pubmed database containing “stuttering” OR “stammering” AND either “MRI” “PET” “EEG” “MEG” “TMS”or “brain” that were published between 1995/​01/​01 and 2016/​01/​01. Results: The search returned a total of 359 items with an additional 26 identified from a manual search. Of these, there were a total of 111 full text articles that met criteria for inclusion in the systematic literature review. We also discuss neuroimaging studies on developmental stuttering published throughout 2016. The discussion of the results is organized first by methodology and second by population (i.e., adults or children) and includes tables that contain all items returned by the search. Conclusions: There are widespread abnormalities in the structural architecture and functional organization of the brains of adults and children who stutter. These are evident not only in speech tasks, but also non-speech tasks. Future research should make greater use of functional neuroimaging and noninvasive brain stimulation, and employ structural methodologies that have greater sensitivity. Newly planned studies should also investigate sex differences, focus on augmenting treatment, examine moments of dysfluency and longitudinally or cross-sectionally investigate developmental trajectories in stuttering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-45
Number of pages40
JournalJournal of Fluency Disorders
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Authors


  • DTI
  • EEG
  • MEG
  • PET
  • TMS
  • VBM
  • diffusion MRI
  • fMRI
  • morphology
  • review
  • stuttering
  • tractography


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