Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wireless neurostimulation for stuttering?

Manik sent me a link to a venture capital enterprise, Microtransponders, which developped the SAINT™ System, a wireless neurostimulation technology platform to treat neurological disease. He is excited about a possible application to stuttering. Nature has already published an article on treating tinnitus in an animal model.

The website, technology, and research looks solid, and should not be rejected off hand. I will write to them and ask whether they have ever considered stuttering. I am not exactly sure how a treatment for stuttering should work. As far as I am aware, stimulation has only increased and never decreased stuttering. However, every new approach should be checked for.

Let us assume the technology works, would you accept having implants, even if very small, implanted in your brain? I can only see severe stutterers considering this option.


Anonymous said...

yes i wud have an implant if they said it wud make me 100% fluent.
If they promise 99% then forget it.

Those who say they wudnt have one are simply scared. :)

You want to be fluent. You are desperate. U have to take chances.
Dont expect that just sitting there some miracle pill will come and cure you.

Complicated Problems like stuttering need complicated solutions. PERIOD

You have to be brave. I AM BRAVE :)
But as i said i need a 100% guarantee.

Pam said...

Nothing in life has a 100% guarantee, except for death. And that could happen while having something implanted in one's brain.

Anonymous said...

Yes sure I will accept having implants but if it really can make me 100% flunet

Anonymous said...

From my experience of 28 yrs of stuttering all i can say it..

There is no cure for stuttering.

They figure out HOW TO ELIMINATE completely whatever our brain has learned as regards to speech.

Stuttering IS a learned habit.
Our brain learns everything and adapts accordingly.
But our bad luck is our brain thinks that stuttering is NORMAL SPEECH

so as i said there has to be a process when we can start fresh like some new born baby. we can then learn speech again.

Of course they are some brain problems but i think they account for just 10%
90% is our learned behaviour thats why we stutter on certain words no matter how hard we try not to stutter on them

so erasing all our brain habits can help us regain our speech around 90%
Once the confidence comes in and the habit of good speech is formed, then we can be fluent.

Tom Weidig said...

@Last Anonym:

habits are definitely an issue, but you underestimate the 10% neurobiology. (this number fluctuates from person to person)

They are responsible for a relapse. So no matter how hard you work on habits, you will have a tendency to block.

And you need to learn not to relapse to old habits. And that is damn hard. Learning new habits is not that hard, but not relapsing is hard.


Anonymous said...

About a year ago, a company called Medtronics took out a patent for a similar technology for deep brain stimulation for a stuttering application.

Clearly this would be an option only for people who stutter who do not respond to any other type of treatment who have not responded to medication, and are haivng serious quality of life issues due to their stuttering.

Drilling a hole in your head, and installing a device in your head, and a transmitter in your chest requires quite a bit of recovery.

Anonymous said...

Yeah i know its damn hard

But i know what practice can do
Ex: I had practised breathing and talking slowly for around 2 days for 1 hr daily and it helped. I could feel the difference so that means the brain is picking up habits

You just need practice, practice and practice.
You need lots of time

Unfortuantely thats where stutterers including me are lazy and have no time
We work for that magic pill without working on breathing or anything that helps slow down speech.

But if we practice, are dedicated we can reduce our stuttering and regain confidence.

Confidence gained is half the battle won.

But its ok. i m happy with life :)
Lets see what the future holds.
Being a stutterer has helped me be a good guy. I thank god for that. else people with talents usually go bad lol

p.s but i still believe these bad habits of not learning frm our mistakes and making them again and again are the primary reason
We can blame our brain but we need to blame ourselves too (which we never do :) )

Unknown said...

Tom, do you think that if a stutterer had sudden total amnesia, he or she would cease to stutter? I ask because I surmise that if I have times where I am fluent, then why can't I find a way to ALWAYS be fluent? Doesn't that indicate that I have the capacity to be 100% fluent? Maybe if I forgot about would disappear?

Gerald Maguire, MD said...

The post above is correct. Medtronic does hold a patent for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and stuttering. In fact, patients who stutter being treated for other conditions have shown improvement with DBS in their fluency. Much depends on where the implants are placed. Some placements may induce stuttering and other targets may treat the condition. Such treatments are quite invasive and would only be researched in the most severe cases at best. Stayed tuned for a research article on this subject from our institution here at UC Irvine. As soon as it is published, I will post a comment here in Tom's blog.