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Yet another neuroimaging paper (on stuttering) coming out of China

At this point, even I have to admit it.  The USA seems to be falling behind relative to new and fresh ideas as they pertain to stuttering theory and science.  Yet another neuroimaging paper is coming out, this one from State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China.  The paper doesn’t appear to be a quick nor easy read, but the findings seem to (again) support existing data.  (And support it very well.)  Similar to another recent paper, this article doesn’t provide tons of new information; although it does effectively bring together the known data into a single article.  (There’s well over a decade worth of data in this one article alone, for example.)  If you want to know what’s the state of the art in stuttered neurology read these papers.

In essence, they used functional neuroimaging to compare the brains of stutterers and fluents,  but this time they looked at differences in functioning from the basal ganglia-thalamocortical circuit (BGTC).  Not only that, but the method of analysis provides a big-picutre way of interpretting the data.  This is key, so you can try to put neurofunctional differences into a larger context.  And while they were there, they also looked at structural differences as well.  In short, these guys seem like pros.  In my eyes, they’re asking the right questions, and coming up with new ways to research them.

Results suggest that differences do exist (obviously).  Both functionally and structurally.  But let’s see how clever they are at interpretting them…  Just because we find differences in neural functioning does not mean that we’ve found the causal elements.  The brain is great at adapting, so it’s impossible to know if the differences found represent a truly causal element of stuttering, or if it’s merely reflecting how the brain has adapted *to* the stuttering and tried to best manage it.  My honest guess is that it’s of the latter.  It’s tough to know how much to go into detail–so I’ll jsut stop here.  If there are requests for a more detailed review, I’ll provide one.

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  1. Tom Weidig
    April 22nd, 2009 at 00:37 | #1

    No! The US is not falling behind. The foreigners that did the research in the past are now just back in their home country: China!


    Greg @ Stuttering.me Reply:

    Can’t argue w/ that logic. At all…


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