Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stuttering Caused by a Genetic Mutation

Stuttering has always been a fascinating phenomenon to me. Stuttering is a speech disorder where the person repeats or prolongs a sound and doesn't have a normal flow of speech. I have known severe "stutterers" who have undergone speech therapy without much help. There have been famous singers (Mel Tillis is one) who stuttered severely when they spoke, but not when they sang.

Now for the first time, a study led by researchers from the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has identified three genes that they believe are involved in stuttering. Three million Americans stutter and until now the cause has been a mystery.

The researchers found the same gene mutation in unrelated families in the United States, Britain and Pakistan.

When I read about these discoveries that link disorders to genes it makes me feel a little sad. Like autism and bed wetting, doctors in the past would blame mothers and child rearing for these problems. Mothers were told autism occurred because they were distant and cold with their infants. Bed wetting was a lazy child. Stuttering was a child who was nervous or didn't have proper speech development at an early age. Clearly these theories are nuts and our ability to identify genes as the cause will finally let mothers off the hook.


Kellie said...

Interesting post. I never knew what caused that but felt sorry for people who had it. Thanks for the education on it. Is it more likely to run in families when a person has it?

hybcampaign said...

The alarming rise in chronic lifestyle diseases prompted the young doctors of Topiwala National Medical College & BYL Nair Hospital to take the health message down to the common man.

A team of 10 spirited doctors with a mission to create a disease free India organized a “ Ride for Health” Cycle rally on Sunday, 7th February 2010 at Marine Drive.The cycle rally was one component of a spectrum of health awareness activities carried out by the ‘help your body’ Nair team like audiovisual interactive sessions for high school students.. The event was flagged off by Dr. Sanjay Oak ( Director Medical education & Major hospitals, MCGM Mumbai and Dean KEM Hospital). It was supported by Dr. Ravi Rananavre ( Dean Nair Hospital) & faculty.

The entire stretch from Nariman point to Girgaum Chowpatty was covered by the participants. The rally aimed at spreading awareness on importance of exercise, balanced diet and stressfree living. The Queen’s Necklace echoed with Health slogans like “ Longer the waist line, shorter the lifeline ” , “

No exercise for seven days makes one weak” and so on. At the end of the cycling event the medical students performed a street play for the general public followed by a music performance by the college band.

The participants were rewarded with health Tshirts, a portion of fresh cut fruits and a unique cycling experience ! The fruits were given as a symbol of vitality and healthy eating habits. The event was one of its kind and the first step towards a Healthy today for a healthy tomorrow.

Jonathan said...

When patients go to their doctors for advice or enter the hospital for an operation, they expect to receive the best care possible under the guidelines of medical practice and state laws. Sometimes, the accepted standards of practice are ignored and a health care provider may commit medical malpractice, which often leads to injury and other irreversible consequences. Overall, medical malpractice involves the negligence on the part of professional medical staff. The issue of medical malpractice is so important in the eyes of the public and government that the United States has developed specific medical malpractice laws to deal with this concern. In order to take suspected medical malpractice case before a court of law, a medical provider must have done something they weren't supposed to do or failed to complete an act they should have performed. For more details visit Clinical Negligence.

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Shorn Jacob said...

Hei...I am a person with stutter

The second poster..Is this is how you are taught to deal with disabilities in Society. by ridiculing them??

The person who made up the poster should match the words with his/her name. I am sure he/she will feel "thats so true".

Anita Blom said...

I wonder what the meaning is with the poster telling me to kill myself. I have made attempts, but luckily I made it through. But some people, young people, don't. And by Please checkout this link
By placing this poster on your blog you and all those spreading that poster, will be responsible for all the bullying that still occurs, every single day, causing people who stutter to give up. So please delete this poster asap and keep on spreading useful information on stuttering. We who stutter thank you.

Judy said...

Several years ago, someone took a very nice, copyrighted poster "Stuttering Is. . . . " and remade it as a terribly sick "joke."

Several of us (including the National Stuttering Association) worked hard to get this poster, which actually encourages kids to kill themselves, off the internet. You apparently didn't read the poster when you put it on your blog and inserted a very inappropriate message as well as continued the possibility of finding the image onine by posting it on your blog at

The real poster is the one on the FRIENDS of Kids Who Stutter website at

I see you are an HONcode site, and I know that this poster would not be approved by the HONcode standards. Please remove the inappropriate poster from your site. There has recently been another suicide of a young man who stuttered. Your message, and the poster, is very painful. Thank you.

Judy Kuster
Professor Emerita
Webweaver of The Stuttering Home Page ( )
another site the subscribes to the HONcode

Anonymous said...

How dare you put that poster that says if you stutter go kill yourself. Is that what you want us to do? What kind of evil twisted woman are you? Why don't you go kill yourself? You're probably not even a real doctor. I hope you burn in hell.

Nina G said...

Please remove your post. The stuttering community does not want this poster on stuttering to be available to bully kids. Thanks!

Stephanie N said...

Regardless if this an informational article, the second poster completely ruins it. I am a person who stutters and had a VERY hard time with bullies when I was younger. That poster only encourages demeaning words like "retard". Please take it off of this article, it is extremely hurtful to people who stutter such as myself and it is only going to keep bullying around. It is in NO way beneficial to your article or research surrounding stuttering. Please, and thank you.

Toni Brayer, MD said...

To the November 6 commenters:
The image that was offensive to the stuttering community has been removed. If you read the post, you would know that it referenced erroneous concepts about stuttering and the fact that new research is finally finding genetic reasons for this phenomenon. The poster was another example of narrow minded people who do not understand stuttering. I do agree that continuance of ignorance serves no good and, at your suggestions, it has been removed. Thank you for alerting me to it's offensiveness.

That said, hoping I will "burn in hell" is also a form of hate and the commenter should look within as well as outside.

EverythingHealth is meant to inform, correct misinformation and make people think. I believe I have served that purpose with this post as well as the entire blog.

Toni Brayer, MD said...

Also, I have removed a number of comments that were simply spam. I do not remove comments that are real, even if they disagree with me.

Pam said...

Glad to see that the poster was removed and that the blogger is attempting to share good information.

I am a woman who stutters and blog over at my own site. I too remove spam comments and also moderate comments for appropriateness.

I agree with you that the person who wished for you "to burn in hell" really needs to take a look inward. I would not have allowed that comment on my blog. It is hateful and totally inappropriate.

I give you a lot of credit for allowing that to remain posted, as well as for actively responding to people who stutter who asked you to remove that poster, and for also responding as you did here.

Not everyone has the class to do that! Thanks. ~Pam

Toni Brayer, MD said...

Pam: Thank you for your comment. I will visit your blog too.

Anita Blom said...

Thanks so much, Toni, for listening to us. Life as a person who stutters is not an easy one, so we're very happy about website where peopel can find more information, such as this one. So please keep up the good work. :-)

Anita Blom said...

PS. And you may remove my earlier posting. Thanks.

Turk Burfiend, stutterer said...

It is very, very sad that anyone would believe that three genes are the reason for stuttering. Don't these researchers have something better to do like curing cancer. These same researchers also probably believe in evolution which is also a lie! Apparently, they didn't understand that Moses in the gospel had trouble speaking. God confused the language of people back at the tower of Babel, not some biological mutation. Turn to the Holy Bible for your answers, not to atheist psychologists and "dreamers." I write this with truth and love, not condemnation.

Hiten said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hiten said...

Thanks for removing Toni. This is a very good example of ensuring that people have all facts and try and remain objective as possible before reacting.

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