Back Past events: Professor Kate Watkins. Imaging and stimulating the stuttering brain

Professor Kate Watkins. Imaging and stimulating the stuttering brain

- BCBL Auditorium
What: Imaging and stimulating the stuttering brain


Where: BCBL Auditorium


Who: Kate Watkins, Department of Experimental Psychology, Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford, UK.


When: 12 noon

Developmental stuttering affects one in twenty children and persists to adulthood in one in a hundred.  The characteristic dysfluencies that occur in developmental stuttering can be alleviated by singing, external cueing, changing the way speech is produced and changing auditory feedback.  Genes associated with stuttering have been identified but the underlying neurobiological impairment remains elusive.  Theoretical models concerning the neural basis of developmental stuttering have implicated a number of potential causes including: atypical language dominance, impaired sensorimotor integration, and dysfunction in basal ganglia circuits.  I will discuss the support for each of these models using findings from brain imaging studies of stuttering, which have implicated abnormal white matter structure, overactivity in the right hemisphere and under-activity in sensory cortex in the brains of people who stutter.  I will also present the results of a treatment study where we used non-invasive brain stimulation alongside temporary fluency inducers (choral speech and metronome-timed speech) to improve speech fluency in adults who stutter.