Researchers at UTSA say they are making progress in uncovering the mysteries behind stuttering, and potentially coming up with a treatment for the age-old affliction, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Dr. Edward Golob, a psychology professor, working with a $387,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, tells News Radio 1200 WOAI his research involves identifying brain activity patters, and differentiating between the pattern when the person is stuttering, and when the person is talking normally.
Golob says even people who have severe stuttering problems don't stutter every time they speak. So what is the difference in what is happening in the brain.
"We are trying to find when the brain is doing its best, when they are not stuttering," he said. "Then we are trying to make that happen more often."
Some three million Americans, many of them adolescents, have a stuttering problem which is serious enough to affect their self confidence and their social development.
Golob says the goal is to study the brain's 'best performance,' and then come up with strategies to make that occur more frequently.
"Its not all that different from athletes, trying to get feedback on, how can you jump a little higher," he says. "Let's look at video and try to get that ankle to flex a little more, that sort of thing."
Golob and his associates are part of a unique UTSA unit called the Brain Health Consortium, which is working on ways to deal not only with stuttering, but with traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and Alzheimer's Disease.
He says if successful, the stuttering research could be useful in fighting Alzheimer's, which is becoming more prevalent as Americans live longer.
"People with Alzheimers don't forget everything, they forget some things and remember others," he said. "So what was the brain doing when they remembered well, and can we get the brain to do that more often."
IMAGE COURTESY: UTSA