Research Note  |   December 2009
Relief of Acquired Stuttering Associated With Parkinson’s Disease by Unilateral Left Subthalamic Brain Stimulation
 
Author Notes
  • Contact author: Harrison C. Walker, Department of Neurology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1720 7th Avenue, South Birmingham, AL 35212. E-mail: hcwalker@uab.edu.
  • © 2009 American Speech-Language-Hearing AssociationAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Research Note   |   December 2009
Relief of Acquired Stuttering Associated With Parkinson’s Disease by Unilateral Left Subthalamic Brain Stimulation
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2009, Vol. 52, 1652-1657. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0089)
History: Received April 26, 2008 , Revised December 9, 2008 , Accepted March 8, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2009, Vol. 52, 1652-1657. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0089)
History: Received April 26, 2008; Revised December 9, 2008; Accepted March 8, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 6

Purpose: In this article, the authors report a case of acquired stuttering associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) that was responsive to unilateral subthalamic nucleus deep-brain stimulation (STN DBS) in the language-dominant hemisphere.

Method: A single-subject, masked, multiple baseline design was used to evaluate the effects of unilateral left STN DBS on stuttering associated with PD. The patient underwent 3 formal speech assessments of spontaneous speech and the reading of passages with DBS off and on. Speech samples were videotaped and placed in random order, and 2 independent speech-language pathologists calculated the percentage of stuttered syllables and classified individual stuttering events.

Results: Stuttering improved significantly in the DBS-on condition. In total, 10% of syllables were affected by stuttering events with DBS off, and less than 1% of syllables were affected by stuttering events with DBS on (n = 2,281 syllables, p < .00001, in a χ2 test). The effect of unilateral STN DBS on stuttering was relatively independent of whether the patient was on or off dopaminergic medications.

Conclusion: This article emphasizes the important role of the subthalamic region in the motor control of speech and language.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by the American Parkinson Disease Association. Erwin B. Montgomery has received funding for research from Medtronic and for consultation with Advanced Neuromodulation Systems.We acknowledge the patient who generously donated his time and arrived off both medications and stimulation for 12 hr. We also acknowledge Gary Cutter for his suggestions on statistical analysis and Lyn Turkstra for her thoughtful suggestions.
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