Experts shed light on stuttering

New research reveals potential factors surrounding stuttering, leading to progress in treatment

Dr. Rachel Williams with Nova Southeastern University’s Department of Speech and Language Pathology said new research is shedding light on potential factors surrounding stuttering that has led to progress in the treatment and prevention of stuttering in young children.

DAVIE, Fla. – Stuttering is a speech disorder that affects an estimated 70 million people worldwide, including President Joe Biden.

Dr. Rachel Williams with Nova Southeastern University’s Department of Speech and Language Pathology said new research is shedding light on potential factors surrounding stuttering that has led to progress in the treatment and prevention of stuttering in young children.

“We look at what we consider the frequency of stuttering or how much stuttering they do, and therapy usually involves trying to make sure we decrease that number by increasing their ability to be fluent. So trying to alleviate them completely doesn’t always happen. What we do is decrease how much it happens in their communication skills,” Williams said.

She said one of the greatest myths about stuttering is that people who suffer from the disorder are not as intelligent as those who don’t.

May is designated Better Speech and Hearing month in an effort to increase awareness about a variety of communication disorders.

Separately, a study published in Jama Open Network found that elevated anxiety, depression and stress during pregnancy can affect a toddler’s cognitive development.

This is the first study to shed light on the impact of toxic stress levels during pregnancy and fetal brain development.

And researchers at the University of Copenhagen are zeroing in on why some people experience high levels of daytime sleepiness.

The scientists found that a small molecule in brain cells affects the level of hypocretin, which is responsible for making use feel awake during the day and tired at night.

People with a genetic variation of this molecule have a higher risk of suffering from daytime sleepiness.


About the Authors:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.