Study: One week of therapy may help reorganize brain, reduce stuttering

August 8, 2012

Just one week of speech therapy may reorganize the brain, helping to reduce stuttering, according to a study published in the August 8, 2012, online issue of Neurology.

The Chinese study gives researchers new insights into the role of different in stuttering, which affects about one percent of adults.

The study involved 28 people with stuttering and 13 people who did not . Fifteen of the people with stuttering received a week of therapy with three sessions per day. The other stutterers and the controls received no therapy. Therapy involved the participants repeating two-syllable words that were spoken to them and then reading words presented to them visually. There was no time limit in either task. The average scores on stuttering tests and percent of stuttered syllables improved for those who received the therapy. There was no change in scores for the stutterers who did not receive therapy.

were used to measure the thickness of the in the brain for all participants at the beginning and end of the study. They also measured the interactions between areas of the brain while at rest, called resting state functional connectivity. Thickness and strength of interactions was reduced in an area of the brain important in speech and called the pars opercularis for those with stuttering compared to the controls. Increased strength of interactions was found in the cerebellum for those with stuttering compared to the controls.

For those who received the therapy, the in the cerebellum was reduced to the same level as that of the controls. There was no change in the pars opercularis area of the brain.

"These results show that the brain can reorganize itself with therapy, and that changes in the are a result of the brain compensating for stuttering," said study author Chunming Lu, PhD, of Beijing Normal University in China. "They also provide evidence that the structure of the pars opercularis area of the brain is altered in people with stuttering."

Christian A. Kell, MD, of Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study, said, "These findings should further motivate therapists and researchers in their efforts to determine how therapy works to reorganize the brain and reduce stuttering."

Explore further: Persistence of stuttering into teenage years predicted by simple model

Related Stories

Persistence of stuttering into teenage years predicted by simple model

April 18, 2011
Wellcome Trust researchers have developed a model that can correctly predict whether a child will recover from a stutter in four out of five cases. The model should allow clinicians to target interventions at those children ...

Profound reorganization in brains of adults who stutter

August 15, 2011
Hearing Beethoven while reciting Shakespeare can suppress even a King's stutter, as recently illustrated in the movie "The King's Speech". This dramatic but short-lived effect of hiding the sound of one's own speech indicates ...

Surprising pathway implicated in stuttering

November 22, 2011
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have obtained new evidence that at least some persistent stuttering is caused by mutations in a gene governing not speech, but a metabolic pathway involved ...

Recommended for you

After 15 years in a vegetative state, nerve stimulation restores consciousness

September 25, 2017
A 35-year-old man who had been in a vegetative state for 15 years after a car accident has shown signs of consciousness after neurosurgeons implanted a vagus nerve stimulator into his chest. The findings reported in Current ...

Overturning widely held ideas: Visual attention drawn to meaning, not what stands out

September 25, 2017
Our visual attention is drawn to parts of a scene that have meaning, rather than to those that are salient or "stick out," according to new research from the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis. ...

The rat race is over: New livestock model for stroke could speed discovery

September 25, 2017
It is well-known in the medical field that the pig brain shares certain physiological and anatomical similarities with the human brain. So similar are the two that researchers at the University of Georgia's Regenerative Bioscience ...

A brain system that builds confidence in what we see, hear and touch

September 25, 2017
A series of experiments at EPFL provide conclusive evidence that the brain uses a single mechanism (supramodality) to estimate confidence in different senses such as audition, touch, or vision. The study is published in the ...

Brain guides body much sooner than previously believed

September 25, 2017
The brain plays an active and essential role much earlier than previously thought, according to new research from Tufts University scientists which shows that long before movement or other behaviors occur, the brain of an ...

Touching helps build the sexual brain

September 21, 2017
Hormones or sexual experience? Which of these is crucial for the onset of puberty? It seems that when rats are touched on their genitals, their brain changes and puberty accelerates. In a new study publishing September 21 ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.