Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Please help researchers in Boston

Please contact Shanqing Cai (scai@bu.edu) to participate in a scientific study on the Rhythm Effect in Stuttering. It is very important that we help others:
The Speech Laboratory of Boston University is looking for volunteers who stutter to participate in an NIH-funded research on persistent developmental stuttering. Persistent developmental stuttering is a disorder of speech fluency characterized by frequency involuntary disruption of the normal flow of speech by syllable or sound repetitions, prolongations and blockages. It usually starts during early speech development between the age of 2 and 6 and persists into adulthood. This study focuses on the rhythm effect, also known as the metronome effect, which refers to the dramatic decrease in dysfluency when a person who stutters speaks to a regular rhythm. By using a combination of psychophysical and MRI techniques, we aim to elucidate the neural basis of this potent fluency enhancing effect in stuttering, which may also provide further insight into the basis of this disorder.
Inclusion criteria: 1) You have persistent developmental stuttering 2) Age between 18 and 50 3) No history of speech or language disorders, apart from stuttering 4) No history of hearing disorders 5) No history of neurological or movement disorders 6) Speaks American English as the first (native) language. First languge refers to the language in which your parents or primary caretaker spoke to you when you first started learning to speak as a child. 7) Not currently taking any medication that may affect speech 8) For MRI compatibility, the participant must not have any of the following in his/her body: History of Head Trauma / Surgery Surgical Aneurysm Clips Cardiac Pacemaker Neurostimulator Implanted Pumps Cochlear Implants Metal rods, Plates, Screws Hearing Aid, Dentures Injury to eye (metal) Body Piercings (metal) Meniere’s Disease Tattoos (metallic ink) Nicotine Patch (or other foil backed patch) Dental Implants / Braces. 
Below is a brief description of this study: (1) Behavioral session Location: BU Sargent College (635 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA) Duration: approximately 1.5 hours. Task: During the experiment, you will be asked to wear insertion earphones and read aloud short sentences in a normal way and in a rhythmic way while your speech is recorded. To allow assessment of your speech production by an affiliated speech-language pathologist, you will also be video-taped while you perform oral reading and conversation. 
Pay: $10 / hour (cash) (2) MRI session Location: Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Charlestown Navy Yard Campus (149 13th Street, Charlestown, MA) Duration: 2 hours Task: Structural brain imaging; functional brain imaging during oral reading of short sentences similar to those in the behavioral study The two sessions do not have to occur on the same day. But the behavioral session needs to occur first. Pay: $50 / hour (cash) BU IRB protocol number: 2421E. Expiration date: 01/23/2014 Boston University IRB protocol number: 2421E. Expiration date: 01/23/2014 
If interested, please contact: Shanqing Cai (scai@bu.edu)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just completed part 1 of this the other day. I don't want to give anything away in case there is anyone reading this who plans to do the experiment, but it seems very related to discoveries that most stutterers learn themselves: rhythmic speech, as though speaking one syllable at a time to a metronome, will enhance fluency. I always use the example of being able to say "sun" but not "sunny" as an example of how simple, monosyllabic speech is much easier than multi-syllabic, serial speech.