Thursday, December 29, 2005

First evidence of brain anomalies in kids??

I am going to send a letter of complain to the editors of The Stuttering Foundation newsletter for being more up-to-date on PDS research than this blog!

The Winter edition has pretty interesting articles and reports on research I wasnt aware of! For example, Ehud Yairi reports on brain research with children:

Brain imaging studies of children should also enhance understanding of this issue. Our team members, Chang, Erickson, and Ambrose (2005) successfully obtained high resolution structural MRI data from stuttering and control children ages 8-13. Initial results indicate significant group differences in white and grey matter volume in brain areas involved in integrating sensory and motor aspects of speech. Testing younger children closer to onset should advance our knowledge.

Reference given: Chang, S., Erickson, K., & Ambrose, N. (2005). Regional white and grey matter volumetric growth differences in children with persistent versus recovered stuttering: An MRI (VBM) study. Presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, 2005, Washington, D.C. Program No. 565.5. 2005 Abstract Viewer/Itinerary Planner. Online

This research (if replicated) weakens the argument that structural anomalies in people with PDS is a consequence of PDS and not the cause. I guess due to the ages, from eight to thirteen, it is still possible that it is a consequence, but no-one can now claim "No wonder the brain is different after decades of stuttering"!

Sure, there will be some effect from stuttering even in younger kids, but I think it is mostly there from the start. Something in the developmental phase around 3 goes wrong. Another article comes to my mind (of which the editors of The Stuttering Foundation are surely not aware :-) from Japanese researchers, who found differences in processing in small children with disfluencies. I'll try to dig the article for you. I think he is called Mori.

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