Stuttering Genes Found

Breakthrough could help at-risk children get earlier treatment
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2010 8:22 AM CST
The gene mutation discovery offers new hope for stutterers   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – Scientists have long known that stuttering runs in families, and now they may have found out why: Researchers uncovered three gene mutations linked to the disrupted flow of speech, potentially solving a centuries-old mystery and moving closer to offering hope of new treatments for the 1% of adults who suffer stammering. The discovery may also help identify at-risk children so they can receive intervention early enough to overcome stuttering entirely, BBC reports.

"This is the first study to pinpoint specific gene mutations as the potential cause of stuttering, and by doing so, might lead to a dramatic expansion in our options for treatment," the head of the study says. An advocate for stammerers calls the new finding "the latest in a string of recent discoveries highlighting the fact that the cause of stammering is physiological."

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