Tuesday, February 06, 2018

I will be at the IFA congress in Hiroshima Mid July!

Do I have Japanese readers or readers that live in Japan???

I hope so. Please get in contact with me! I have lots of questions!

I will be at the IFA world congress in Hiroshima from July 13th to 16th and hopefully also hosting some events in my role as chair of the IFA research and publication committee.

Here is the link to congress page.

Monday, February 05, 2018

A new treatment method for adult stuttering?

The well-known Brain science journal has a paper by the Watkins research team in Oxford, where they claim: "transcranial direct current stimulation combined with behavioural fluency intervention can improve fluency in adults who stutter. Transcranial direct current stimulation thereby offers a potentially useful adjunct to future speech therapy interventions for this population, for whom fluency therapy outcomes are currently limited."

ABSTRACT: Chesters J, Möttönen R, Watkins KE

Stuttering is a neurodevelopmental condition affecting 5% of children, and persisting in 1% of adults. Promoting lasting fluency improvement in adults who stutter is a particular challenge. Novel interventions to improve outcomes are of value, therefore. Previous work in patients with acquired motor and language disorders reported enhanced benefits of behavioural therapies when paired with transcranial direct current stimulation. Here, we report the results of the first trial investigating whether transcranial direct current stimulation can improve speech fluency in adults who stutter. We predicted that applying anodal stimulation to the left inferior frontal cortex during speech production with temporary fluency inducers would result in longer-lasting fluency improvements. Thirty male adults who stutter completed a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation over left inferior frontal cortex. Fifteen participants received 20 min of 1-mA stimulation on five consecutive days while speech fluency was temporarily induced using choral and metronome-timed speech. The other 15 participants received the same speech fluency intervention with sham stimulation. Speech fluency during reading and conversation was assessed at baseline, before and after the stimulation on each day of the 5-day intervention, and at 1 and 6 weeks after the end of the intervention. Anodal stimulation combined with speech fluency training significantly reduced the percentage of disfluent speech measured 1 week after the intervention compared with fluency intervention alone. At 6 weeks after the intervention, this improvement was maintained during reading but not during conversation. Outcome scores at both post-intervention time points on a clinical assessment tool (the Stuttering Severity Instrument, version 4) also showed significant improvement in the group receiving transcranial direct current stimulation compared with the sham group, in whom fluency was unchanged from baseline. We conclude that transcranial direct current stimulation combined with behavioural fluency intervention can improve fluency in adults who stutter. Transcranial direct current stimulation thereby offers a potentially useful adjunct to future speech therapy interventions for this population, for whom fluency therapy outcomes are currently limited.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Important long-term study of children with the 7-year data.

I am busy right now, but maybe some of you can give its relevance. It seems to be one of or the largest study ever done?

 2017 Oct 3:1-12. doi: 10.1044/2017_JSLHR-S-16-0205. [Epub ahead of print]

The History of Stuttering by 7 Years of Age: Follow-Up of a Prospective Community Cohort.

Kefalianos E1,2,3Onslow M4Packman A4Vogel A1,3,5Pezic A2Mensah F2,6,7Conway L2,6Bavin E8Block S9Reilly S2,6,10.



For a community cohort of children confirmed to have stuttered by the age of 4 years, we report (a) the recovery rate from stuttering, (b) predictors of recovery, and (c) comorbidities at the age of 7 years.


This study was nested in the Early Language in Victoria Study. Predictors of stuttering recovery included child, family, and environmental measures and first-degree relative history of stuttering. Comorbidities examined at 7 years included temperament, language, nonverbal cognition, and health-related quality of life.


The recovery rate by the age of 7 years was 65%. Girls with stronger communication skills at the age of 2 years had higher odds of recovery (adjusted OR = 7.1, 95% CI [1.3, 37.9], p = .02), but similar effects were not evident for boys (adjusted OR = 0.5, 95% CI [0.3, 1.1], p = .10). At the age of 7 years, children who had recovered from stuttering were more likely to have stronger language skills than children whose stuttering persisted (p = .05). No evident differences were identified on other outcomes including nonverbal cognition, temperament, and parent-reported quality of life.


Overall, findings suggested that there may be associations between language ability and recovery from stuttering. Subsequent research is needed to explore the directionality of this relationship.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Do you want to become a member of the research and publication committee at IFA??

The Research and Publication Committee of IFA is inviting interested parties to join our team and work collaboratively towards implementing our recently revised goals (see latest draft below).

We strongly encourage junior researchers (e.g., PhD students and postdocs) to apply. They could significantly benefit from membership of an international committee and gain much by having a more top-down approach of research worldwide.

Before applying, please review our goals carefully and indicate those that you would like to be involved in or responsible for and on average how much time you can spend on committee work. 

Of course, any feedback on our goals and on how we can together improve the functioning of research and the research community is welcome.

Therefore, we invite interested parties to apply by sending an email to research_publication_committee@theifa.org. 

(p.s. you need to be or be willing to become a member of IFA to become a member of the committee)



1)   Help to ensure a high quality research presence at IFA congresses
  1. Liaise with organizers, program committee, and IFA conference committee.
  2. Organize events and discussion rounds (on own activity).
2)  Encourage online exchanges on research
  1. Organize an online discussion on a specific topic twice a year.
  2. Provide a place to discuss the latest published research articles.
3)  Inform about research activities
  1.  Maintain a list of all research-related contact persons at relevant associations.
  2. Maintain a list of all research teams and published researchers.
  3.   Collect opinions from researchers on last year’s most interesting research.
4)  Support researchers
  1.   Interact informally and through surveys to identify and address needs.
  2.  Manage research-related surveys with IFA membership.
1)  Collaborate with JFD to ensure quality and global reach
  1. Interact with the Editor-in-Chief of JFD at the beginning and end of the academic year.
  2.  Collaborate with JFD on recruiting and training a new generation of reviewers.
  3. Initiate and maintain a mentorship program where senior researchers advise researchers from underrepresented or non-English speaking countries on different aspects of the research publication process.
  4. d. Encourage researchers from underrepresented countries to publish in JFD.
2)   Support IFA committees to inform its members about activities worldwide
  1. Deliver a newsletter twice a year (content TBD)
3)    Edit and support publication of the proceedings of the IFA congresses

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Our brains are not abnormal but just different? A harmful attitude!

BSA posted a link to a research paper on their website here and added this sentence after a very short description of the research:
In 'research-speak' the authors are talking about 'abnormalities', though BSA holds that our brains aren't 'abnormal' but different.
Our brains are clearly abnormal, in the sense that they are different to the norm. They are not just different, because this typically means that they function well within the normal range and have aspects that are different but which do not impact functioning.

Therefore, BSA (or the person who posted it in the name of the whole BSA) does not represent my view as a person who stutters, and I am confident that many people that stutter and that I know would agree with me. Indeed, the BSA does also not represent the majority view of the stuttering community on this issue, in my view.

In fact, this attitude of telling researchers how to express themselves is making the researchers' life just more difficult and causing real harm as they have to spend valuable time thinking about words rather than about their research and are being forced to use words that do not accurately reflect their thinking just so as not to trigger some people who believe that stutteres are offended when, in my view, most don't care at all and would love to hear the unfiltered words of researchers.

Moreover, this attitude harms people who stutter as it prevents them to face the realities of their brains and creates hostility against researchers as the "bad" people who describe people who stutter in a "wrong and discriminatory way". Quite the opposite is the reality. Researchers care about people who stutter but they also care for their freedom to express themselves as they see fit.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

European Clinical Specialization Course on Fluency Disorders

The European Clinical Specialization Course on Fluency Disorders is a one-year program - compatible with the workload of an SLT - for speech-language therapists wanting to become European Fluency Specialists. It consists of 25 credits (ECTS). Graduates of this course will distinguish themselves by their outstanding ability, in-depth knowledge and expertise in the field of fluency disorders. The program provides specialist knowledge and skills, that can be recognized by your local professional body as important criteria leading to clinical specialization.

The program is run by a consortium consisting of 16 partners (universities, colleges, specialized centers) from 9 European countries and will start its tenth course cycle in September 2017.

We would like to inform you that registration for the 1718-course cycle and pre-registration for the 1819-course cycle are open. (For the 1718-cycle only a few places are still available) 

The application procedure can be found here.

The ECSF consortium

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Firing of veteran NIH scientist prompts protests over publication ban

A very sad story. A senior researchers got fired because he did not adhere to the very strict and often completely uselees but politically correct procedures. Result: the valid experimental data (on stuttering!) cannot be used in a scientific publication and the junior researchers face professional disaster under the "publish or perish" doctrine. Nan and Jerry asked for sanity for the sake of research.

Read here.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Latest review on genetics research

If you want to read the latest review on genetics and stuttering, you should read this Open Access article by Drayna and  Frigerio-Domingues.

Drayna is team leader at NIH for genetics of stuttering.

[Thanks to Ora for the tip]