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Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown

Stuttering

Stuttering, estimated to affect 55 million people worldwide, is defined as :

- a disruption in the fluency of verbal expression characterized by involuntary, audible or silent, repetitions or prolongations of sounds or syllables

Over the centuries, a number of theories about how stuttering arises (and what treatment approaches should be used) have been proposed.

It tends to affect children more than adults - and boys four times more than girls. It's currently unknown whether stuttering is a cognitve, motor, or sensory disorder - or some combination of the three.

Recent progress in near-realtime brain imaging studies have found that :

(i) in stutterers, the right hemisphere seems to be hyperactive, and (ii) a timing problem seems to exist between the left frontal and the left central cortex.

Current medical treatments tend to be based around 'neuroleptic' (anti-psychotic) drugs such as haloperidol, risperidone, and olanzapine - which are also used to help control Tourette syndromeplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigTourette syndrome

Tourette syndrome (TS or simply Tourette's) is a common neuropsychiatric disorder which usually starts in childhood and is characterized by multiple motor tics and at least one vocal tic. These tics characteristically wax and wane, can be suppressed t…

See : PLoS Biol 2(2): e46

Notes:

[1] Several studies have documented the fact that most people ( currently estimated at 92%) who stutter in normal speech can sing song-lyrics without any difficulties. There is no explanation for this effect. [ Ref : Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain Vol. 31, Iss. 1, (Mar 2021): 18-34 ]

[2] It's known that, in some cases, the disorder has a genetic component, as it tends to run in families. The associated genes have not been identified.


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