Friday, December 09, 2005

Nothing ado about hearing?

In a previous post, I described this article.

My view is very much in line with what Peter wrote: here. Actually, I am wondering who Peter is? :-) I googled "Peter stuttering". And I find a Prof Peter Ramig and a Peter Louw. I would guess it is Peter Ramig, but I have never met him.

Some more comments:

1. Their review is not very good. As you do not have the actual paper, here is one quote "individuals with PDS have... a cortical disconnection between the frontal operculum and ventral premotor cortex [reference: Sommer et al.]". Several issues here: 1) they present it as a fact, even though they only quote one source Sommer et al. 2) Sommer et al. never said such thing 3) They found a lower coherence in a fiber tract. This is either an experimental artefact or a structural weakness. But not a disconnection as such, more like a noisy phone line or a 1-lane motorway. 4) There is no direct connection between frontal operculum and ventral premotor cortex. To summarise, such reviewing practise is really annoying and encourages myth propagation. (Thx for input by Per Alm)

2. They find correlations by looking at many different variables and not by looking at the variables a-priori considered interesting. Looking at too many variables, there is a considerable chance that one variable is correlated to stuttering (for example) by chance. They used self-rated dysfluency as measure of stuttering.

As Peter says, the different reaction to changed sounds could just be a natural learned behaviour to their stuttering. But even if this is the case, does this observation not tell us that therapy needs to consider hearing issues? Or is it irrelevant?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Criticizing the authors' review and even claiming that their style of reviewing is "really annoying and encourages myth propagation" based on the argument that "Sommer et al. never said such a thing" (but instead "[...]found a lower coherence in a fiber tract [...] not a disconnection as such") is strange (to say the least) given Sommer et al. selected the following as the title for their paper: "Disconnection of speech-relevant brain areas in persistent developmental stuttering." (The Lancet, 360, pp 380-383) Regardless of whether or not it is appropriate to use the word, Sommer et al DID say such a thing....