New Study Finds Genetic Mutations Play a Role in Stuttering
“People have looked for a cause of stuttering for 5,000 years,” Dennis Drayna, a researcher at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and a coauthor of the study, told CNN. “Many, many things have been suggested as a cause of stuttering. None of them have turned out to be true. For the first time today, we know one of the causes of this disorder.”
Dr. Gerald Maguire, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Irvine—and a stutterer himself—has been looking to pharmaceuticals for a cure for stuttering. Maguire ran small trials of two drugs developed to treat schizophrenia—Risperdal, from Johnson & Johnson, and Zyprexa, from Eli Lilly—and found some success with the drugs, “but neither company took the drug into larger trials,” Pollack reported.
Pagoclone, first tested as a treatment for anxiety and panic disorders, is the latest candidate. The New York Times reported that in May 2006, Indevus Pharmaceuticals found “encouraging results” in their clinical trials with the drug, making pagoclone the best contender for a possible “first medical treatment approved for stuttering,” Pollack wrote.
ClinicalTrials.gov, a Web site of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, lists active and completed studies involving pagoclone, while PubMed.gov links to the most recent pagoclone references in scientific journals.
Speech therapy is the most common treatment for those who stutter. KidsHealth explains that most schools offer testing and appropriate speech therapy for children who stutter.
There are plenty of free resources available online with information and support. For an overview of speech therapies available for school children, visit the National Stuttering Association. The Stuttering Foundation offers a brochure for teachers with eight tips to help a child in their classroom with a stuttering problem.
Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, wasn’t included in Mental Floss’ list, but he could have been. Welch also prevailed in spite of a stutter.