Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 323–327 | Cite as

Speech and Motor Disturbances in Rett Syndrome

  • V. M. Bashina
  • N. V. Simashkova
  • V. V. Grachev
  • N. L. Gorbachevskaya


Rett syndrome is a severe, genetically determined disease of early childhood which produces a defined clinical phenotype in girls. The main clinical manifestations include lesions affecting speech functions, involving both expressive and receptive speech, as well as motor functions, producing apraxia of the arms and profound abnormalities of gait in the form of ataxia-apraxia. Most investigators note that patients have variability in the severity of derangement to large motor acts and in the damage to fine hand movements and speech functions. The aims of the present work were to study disturbances of speech and motor functions over 2–5 years in 50 girls aged 12 months to 14 years with Rett syndrome and to analyze the correlations between these disturbances. The results of comparing clinical data and EEG traces supported the stepwise involvement of frontal and parietal-temporal cortical structures in the pathological process. The ability to organize speech and motor activity is affected first, with subsequent development of lesions to gnostic functions, which are in turn followed by derangement of subcortical structures and the cerebellum and later by damage to structures in the spinal cord. A clear correlation was found between the severity of lesions to motor and speech functions and neurophysiological data: the higher the level of preservation of elements of speech and motor functions, the smaller were the contributions of θ activity and the greater the contributions of α and β activities to the EEG. The possible pathogenetic mechanisms underlying the motor and speech disturbances in Rett syndrome are discussed.


Early Childhood Motor Function Clinical Phenotype Hand Movement Clear Correlation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. M. Bashina
    • 1
  • N. V. Simashkova
    • 1
  • V. V. Grachev
    • 1
  • N. L. Gorbachevskaya
    • 1
  1. 1.Scientific Center for Mental HealthRussian Academy of Medical SciencesMoscow

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