Bruce Willis, Marilyn Monroe, and Carly Simon all suffered from stuttering.
Today, three million Americans do, too. Most are able to overcome the handicap, which afflicts 5% of all children ― but childhood suffering from stuttering can be traumatic, producing educational, social, and occupational disadvantages.
Intriguing new research from a large-scale international project is providing new insight into the disability. Prof. Ehud Yairi, a long-term Visiting Professor at Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine, Department of Communication Disorders and founder of the Illinois International Stuttering Research Program at the University of Illinois, is among the leaders of the project.
Prof. Yairi and his fellow researchers are now reporting strong evidence for a significant genetic component to stuttering. They've established that the likelihood of both a spontaneous recovery from stuttering and the development of a chronic disorder are genetically linked.
A Personal Matter
Prof. Yairi, who suffered from a severe stutter into early adulthood and still exhibits a mild form of the disorder at the age of 69, first suspected that stuttering had genetic ties in his own family. Before him, his grandfather, father, aunts and cousins on his father's side had exhibited mild to severe forms of stuttering. "I've become an expert in my own problem," he jokes.
"One of the most important goals for us as researchers is to identify ways for making early prognoses, diagnosing both those children who would exhibit chronic stuttering through their lifetimes and those who would recover naturally," says Prof. Yairi. "This will have huge implications for clinical decisions, both for identifying children at high risk for chronic stuttering, as well as selecting the right timing and type of treatment."
An International Affair
A recent major study supported by NIH took the gen
|Contact: George Hunka|
American Friends of Tel Aviv University