AUG 31, 2017 3:34 PM PDT

Stutter: The Science Behind the Stammer

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Stuttering, a speech disorder characterized by an irregular speech flow, affects about 3 million Americans. It was once thought that stuttering was caused solely by nervousness and anxiety, but we now know that this speech disorder is much more complex and is influenced by many different factors.

A large proportion of stuttering can be attributed to genetics. That is, 60 percent of people who stutter have a family member who also stutters. Despite this evidence, scientists have yet to fully understand the genetic contributions to stuttering. This may be complicated by other neurophysiological factors. In the most recent study of this condition, scientists linked reduced blood flow to the Broca's area to stuttering. Of note, Broca's area is the region in the frontal lobe of the brain linked to speech production.

Even though stuttering is a common phenomenon, it still carries a heavy social stigma. Many people who stutter often feel alone and isolated. However, awareness of this condition can be a powerful tool in dispelling the myths that surround stuttering.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
MAY 10, 2020
Space & Astronomy
What Exactly Are Star Clusters?
MAY 10, 2020
What Exactly Are Star Clusters?
When you think of stellar systems, you might be inclined to think of a system like our own with just one star, or perhap ...
MAY 19, 2020
Plants & Animals
Seabirds Often Deal with Thieves When Scouting for Food
MAY 19, 2020
Seabirds Often Deal with Thieves When Scouting for Food
In the bird world, parental units will often split responsibilities. One typically stays behind at the nest to protect t ...
MAY 24, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Here's Why SpaceX is Using Heavy Stainless Steel to Make Starship
MAY 24, 2020
Here's Why SpaceX is Using Heavy Stainless Steel to Make Starship
SpaceX is perhaps best known for its reusable Falcon 9 rocket, the same variety that will be lofting astronauts into out ...
MAY 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
SpaceX Demo-2 Mission Docks Safely with International Space Station
MAY 31, 2020
SpaceX Demo-2 Mission Docks Safely with International Space Station
SpaceX and NASA gave the green light for the precedent-setting Demo-2 mission Saturday afternoon, officially bringing cr ...
JUN 15, 2020
Space & Astronomy
This Drop Tower Simulates Near-Zero Gravity On Earth
JUN 15, 2020
This Drop Tower Simulates Near-Zero Gravity On Earth
It’s almost impossible to replicate the effects of zero gravity here on Earth, and that’s one of the reasons ...
JUN 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Astrophysicists Find Evidence of Nearby Planet that May Sustain Life
JUN 26, 2020
Astrophysicists Find Evidence of Nearby Planet that May Sustain Life
Researchers have found that a nearby red dwarf star, known as Gliese 887, may host three planets, one of which could sus ...
Loading Comments...