Brain Research Institute to collaborate on stuttering study
A collaboration between the New Zealand Brain Research Institute and University of Canterbury researcher, Dr Catherine Theys, has recently received a research grant from Canterbury Medical Research Foundation to investigate, for the first time, how stuttering therapy changes brain function in children who stutter. With these findings, they aim to improve treatment, and have a positive impact on the lives of the 80 million people who kikikiki/stutter and their whānau worldwide.
Communicating effectively with others is essential for a person’s hauora (physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing). For those who stutter, everyday communication is a struggle.
At least one in twenty pre-schoolers in Aotearoa New Zealand develops stuttering. While many recover, spontaneously or with early speech-language therapy, a significant proportion do not. For the 1% of the population with persistent stuttering, there is currently no cure. Treatments are demanding and effects are often not maintained.
Today, more than 50,000 New Zealanders live with the burden of stuttering and the well-documented academic, emotional - such as fear of speaking - and social - such as isolation - challenges that result.
After centuries of research, the cause of stuttering remains unknown. Recent studies provide evidence for a neural basis, reflected by differences in brain function between those who stutter and fluent speakers. However, we do not yet understand the causal mechanisms underlying these differences, nor how we can change them with treatment.
Find out more about the New Zealand Brain Research Institute.
Date posted: 14 October 2021