Friday, August 19, 2005

The German stuttering junkie

Holger Stenzel has posted an interesting comment in German, so I decided to translate it in English so you can read it.

I have never met Holger, but several people kind of jokingly refer to him as the German stuttering junkie :-), as he is very knowledgable on this issue, has been and is discussing the issue in German discussion groups and, I think, also wrote about his experience with some of the drugs, but I couldnt find anything on google.

Here is the text.

"The good and bad days effect seems to be shared by many people with PDS according to testimony.

My personal symptoms are also marked by constantly changing phases of better or worse fluency. I find it very difficult to causally link them to other factors. Except that good days in terms of fluency seems to go hand in hand with better cognitive performance in word retrieval and concentration, and during bad days I often experience that any attempt to speak creates havoc in my brain.

It is plausible that the effect is related to specific constellations of the neurotransmitter metabolism. Finding the underlying biochemical mechanism could provide the necessary basis to develop drugs that would so-to-speak keep the good days permamently. This approach should be feasible and would be an important step in a medical treatment of stuttering.

Currently, neuropharmaceutical understanding of stuttering is not sufficiently good. An inhibiting factor is the very limited ability of test any drug for speech and cognition using animal models. Gerry Maguire et al.'s dopamine [Note: a neurotransmitter] hypothesis is a first step and based on clinical studies of the drug Risperidon and Olanzapin. The dopamine antagonists are the first class of drugs with proven fluency enhancing effects.

A rather unintended discovery was the dramatic reduction in symptoms with some people with PDS taking a derivate of the substance Cyclopyrrolon, Pagoclone. The outcomes of the Phase 2 study by Indevus Pharmaceuticals Inc. are eagerly anticipated. Pagoclone is said to act as an antagist and modulate GABA-A [Note: see here]. The inhibitionary effect of GABA is due to hyperpolarisation. A stream of negatively charges ions blocks the depolarisation of the neuron needed to release the action potential. And that is how GABA reduces the electrical excitibality of neurons. Indevus is the first pharmaceutical company to have apply for a patent for a drug for PDS: see here.

Best wishes from Germany!

Holger Stenzel"

(Source: Holger Stenzel, translated by Tom Weidig)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hallo Tom,

vielen Dank für den Titel "The German stuttering junkie". Aber ganz so dramatisch ist das nicht.

Katrin Neumann hat mir erzählt, das Du Dich für die Stotterforschung engagierst. Deinen Blog finde ich sehr interessant und da ich mich speziell für die pharmakologischen Forschungen interessiere, habe ich die Gelegenheit genutzt hier einige Aspekte mitzuteilen.

Ich bin 42 Jahre, wohne im (Neu-) Bundesland Sachsen Anhalt und arbeite selbstständig als Elektrotechniker. Das Stottern praktiziere ich seit etwa dem 5. Lebensjahr. Zu einer ordentlichen Stottererkarriere zählen natürlich zahlreiche Therapien, die auch ich über die Jahre hinweg absolviert habe. Leider ist das grosse Erfolgserlebnis bislang ausgeblieben. Die besten Fortschritte gab es bei der Kasseler Stottertherapie, aber trotz intensiver Bemühungen konnte ich das Konzept nicht in den Alltag übertragen.

Auf der Suche nach Alternativen habe ich mich dann mit den Pharmastudien der Stuttering Research Group von Gerry Maguire beschäftigt. Seit 30 Monaten unternehme ich unter Aufsicht einer Neurologin einen Behandlungsversuch mit Olanzapine.
Einen Report dazu findest Du hier:

Ich war als Proband an dem fMRI-Projekt der Universität Frankfurt beteiligt und unterstütze seit einiger Zeit die Forschungsarbeit von Katrin.

best greetings