Brain control of Speech and Language and early diagnosis of disorders

By Ahmet Abdulaziz ….

The “Brain and Speech” issue was recently discussed in the context of the “Scientific Conversations” event hosted by the Near East University Faculty of Health Sciences.

The Speech and Language Therapist Dr. Seren Düzenli Oztürk, was the main speaker, who discussed the need of understanding and the overall system in which the brain controls language and speech.  She emphasised that understanding this function of the brain is very important for early diagnosis of language and speech disorders.

Underlining that the ability to produce an infinite number of sentences with a limited number of grammatical rules is the feature that makes the human speech and language superior to communication systems of other living things. Speech and Language Therapist Dr. Seren Düzenli Oztürk stated that speech sounds, their semantic processing and grammatical rules are coordinated by motor patterns involving brain electrical impulses that can be detected and tracked via electroencephalogram (EEG).

Highlighting that 32-month old babies have the ability to distinguish the difference between regular and irregular sentences, Dr. Oztürk noted that this feature hasn’t been detected in the brain signals of babies who are at risk of linguistic development. Adding that 12 month-old babies are able to match the word-picture and word meanings, Dr. Oztürk stated that scientific data proving this feature can be detected via EEG has been presented.

Drawing attention that the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, known as the founder of modern linguistics, defined language as the “System of Systems”, Dr. Oztürk stated that the speech and language processing system in the human brain was a very complex system that had not been completely understood yet. “Early diagnosis in the functioning disorders (language and speech disorders) of such a complex system is of great importance” she said.

The session was attended by vice Rector Associate Professor Mustafa Kurt, Faculty of Health Sciences Founding Dean Professor Sevinç Yücecan, faculty members, and a large group of students of Near East University.