The Effects of Fluency Enhancing Conditions on Sensorimotor Control of Speech in Typically Fluent Speakers – An EEG Mu Rhythm Study

The objective of this study was to determine whether changes in sensorimotor control resulting from speaking conditions that induce fluency in people who stutter (PWS) can be measured using
electroencephalographic (EEG) mu rhythms in neurotypical speakers. Non-stuttering (NS) adults spoke in one control condition (solo speaking) and four experimental conditions (choral speech, delayed auditory feedback (DAF), prolonged speech and pseudostuttering). Independent component analysis (ICA) was used to identify sensorimotor μ components from EEG recordings. Time-frequency analyses measured μ-alpha (8–13 Hz) and μ-beta (15–25 Hz) event-related synchronization (ERS) and desynchronization (ERD) during each speech condition. 19/24 participants contributed μ components. Relative to the control condition, the choral and DAF conditions elicited increases in μ-alpha ERD in the right hemisphere. In the pseudostuttering condition, increases in μ-beta ERD were observed in the left hemisphere. No differences were present between the prolonged speech and control conditions. Differences observed in the experimental conditions are thought to reflect sensorimotor control changes. Increases in right hemisphere μ-alpha ERD likely reflect increased reliance on auditory information, including auditory feedback, during the choral and DAF conditions. In the left hemisphere, increases in μ-beta ERD during pseudostuttering may have resulted from the different movement characteristics of this task compared with the solo speaking task. Relationships to findings in stuttering are discussed. Changes in sensorimotor control related feedforward and feedback control in fluency-enhancing speech manipulations can be measured using time-frequency decompositions of EEG μ rhythms in neurotypical speakers. This quiet, non-invasive, and temporally sensitive technique may be applied to learn more about normal sensorimotor control and fluency enhancement in PWS. #stuttering

Kittilstved, Tiffani, Reilly, Kevin J., Harkrider, Ashley W., Casenhiser, Devin, Thornton, David, Jenson, David E., Hedinger, Tricia, Bowers, Andrew L., and Saltuklaroglu, Tim. The Effects of Fluency Enhancing Conditions on Sensorimotor Control of Speech in Typically Fluent Speakers: An EEG Mu Rhythm Study. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2018.00126

[fluency enhancement, stuttering, sensorimotor control]

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Speech rate adjustment of adults during conversation

Speech rate convergence has been reported previously as a phenomenon in which one’s speech rate is influenced by his/her partner’s speech rate. This phenomenon has been demonstrated in artificial settings, and to some extent, in mother-child interactions. The purpose of this study was to explore speech rate adjustment in a quasi-natural adult-adult conversation. Participants significantly reduced their speech rate, in response to the experimenters’ reduction in speech rate. However, the participants’ reduction in speech rate was significantly smaller than the experimenters’ reduction in speech rate. In addition, during the controlled slow speech rate, the participants’ speech rate correlated negatively with that of the experimenters’. Results suggest that speech rate convergence is a non-linear phenomenon, and may be affected by various linguistic as well as communicational factors. From a clinical perspective, the results support the use of the modeling strategy in speech therapy, as a means to facilitate a reduction in clients’ speech rate. #stuttering

Freud, Debora, Ezrati-Vinacour, Ruth, and Amir, Ofer. (2018). Speech rate adjustment of adults during conversation. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 57, 1-10 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfludis.2018.06.002

[stuttering, speech rate modeling]

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A Role for the Frontal Aslant Tract in Speech Planning – A Neurosurgical Case Study

Frontal and temporal white matter pathways play key roles in language processing, but the specific computations supported by different tracts remain a matter of study. A role in speech planning has been proposed for a recently described pathway, the frontal aslant tract (FAT), which connects the posterior inferior frontal gyrus to the pre-SMA. Here, we use longitudinal functional and structural MRI and behavioral testing to evaluate the behavioral consequences of a lesion to the left FAT that was incurred during surgical resection of a frontal glioma in a 60-year-old woman, Patient AF. The pattern of performance in AF is compared, using the same measures, with that in a 37-year-old individual who underwent a left anterior temporal resection and hippocampectomy (Patient AG). AF and AG were both cognitively intact preoperatively but exhibited specific and doubly dissociable behavioral deficits postoperatively: AF had dysfluent speech but no word finding difficulty, whereas AG had word finding difficulty but otherwise fluent speech. Probabilistic tractography showed that the left FAT was lesioned postoperatively in AF (but not AG) whereas the inferior longitudinal fasciculus was lesioned in AG (but not AF). Those structural changes were supported by corresponding changes in functional connectivity to the posterior inferior frontal gyrus: decreased functional connectivity postoperatively between the posterior inferior frontal gyrus and pre-SMA in AF (but not AG) and decreased functional connectivity between the posterior inferior frontal gyrus and the middle temporal gyrus in AG (but not AF). We suggest from these findings that the left FAT serves as a key communicative link between sentence planning and lexical access processes. #stuttering

Chernoff, Benjamin L., Teghipco, Alex, Garcea, Frank E., and Sims, Max H. (2018). A Role for the Frontal Aslant Tract in Speech Planning: A Neurosurgical Case Study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 30, 752-769 https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01244

[stuttering, frontal white matter, temporal white matter, language processing, frontal aslant tract, speech planning]

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Evaluating a Web-Based Social Anxiety Intervention Among University Students: Randomized Controlled Trial

Treatment rates for social anxiety, a prevalent and potentially debilitating condition, remain among the lowest of all major mental disorders today. Although computer-delivered interventions are well poised to surmount key barriers to the treatment of social anxiety, most are only marginally effective when delivered as stand-alone treatments. A new, Web-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention called Overcome Social Anxiety was recently created to address the limitations of prior computer-delivered interventions. Users of Overcome Social Anxiety are self-directed through various CBT modules incorporating cognitive restructuring and behavioral experiments. The intervention is personalized to each user’s symptoms, and automatic email reminders and time limits are used to encourage adherence. Following eligibility screening, participants were randomly assigned to a treatment condition or a wait-list control condition. Only those assigned to the treatment condition were given access to Overcome Social Anxiety; they were asked to complete the program within 4 months. The social interaction anxiety scale (SIAS), the fear of negative evaluation scale (FNE), and the quality of life enjoyment and satisfaction questionnaire—short form (Q-LES-Q-SF) were
administered to participants from both conditions during baseline and 4-month follow-up lab visits. Over the course of the study,
participants assigned to the treatment condition experienced a significant reduction in social anxiety (SIAS: P<.001, Cohen d=0.72; FNE: P<.001, Cohen d=0.82), whereas those assigned to the control condition did not (SIAS: P=.13, Cohen d=0.26; FNE: P=.40, Cohen d=0.14). Additionally, a direct comparison of the average change in social anxiety in the 2 conditions over the course of the study showed that those assigned to the treatment condition experienced
significantly more improvement than those assigned to the control condition (SIAS: P=.03, Cohen d=0.56; FNE: P=.001, Cohen d=0.97). Although participants assigned to the treatment condition experienced a slight increase in life satisfaction, as measured by Q-LES-Q-SF scores, and those assigned to the control condition experienced a slight decrease, these changes were not statistically significant (treatment: P=.35, Cohen d=−0.18; control: P=.30, Cohen d=0.18). Our findings indicate that Overcome Social Anxiety is an effective intervention for treating symptoms of social anxiety and that it may have further utility in serving as a model for the development of new interventions. Additionally, our findings provide evidence that contemporary Web-based interventions can be sophisticated enough to benefit users even when delivered as stand-alone treatments, suggesting that further opportunities likely exist for the development of other Web-based mental health interventions. #stuttering

McCall HC, Richardson CG, Helgadottir FD, Chen FS. (2018). Evaluating a Web-Based Social Anxiety Intervention Among University Students: Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research http://10.2196/jmir.8630

[social anxiety, clinical trial, internet, cognitive behavior therapy, stuttering]

http://rickywburk.org
http://facebook.com/rickywburk/speech
@rickywburk
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Retrospective Experiences of Cyberbullying and Emotional Outcomes on Young Adults Who Stutter

The objective of this quantitative research study was to identify and examine psychological effects on adults who stutter who were cyberbullied as an adolescent, specifically looking at depression, anxiety, and stress levels. Using survey methodology, a two-way between-groups multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was utilized to determine if young adults who stutter and were cyberbullied in middle and/or high school express current depression, anxiety, or stress levels as compared to three other groups (no cyberbullying and no stuttering; cyberbullying and no stuttering; and no cyberbullying and stuttering). This study used the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS) instrument in an online survey format to determine which, if any, lasting psychological stressors were found. Results indicate that the cyberbullied and stuttering group have significantly higher anxiety levels compared to the three additional groups, significantly higher depression levels compared to the group with no cyberbullying and no stuttering, and significantly higher stress levels compared to the groups with stuttering and no cyberbullying and no cyberbullying and no stuttering. This research indicates the effects that cyberbullying can have on mental health, and additionally the negative effect that stuttering can have on a person’s overall mental health as well. #stuttering

Nicolai, Stephanie, Geffner, Robert, Stolberg, Ronald, and Yaruss, J. Scott. (2018). Retrospective Experiences of Cyberbullying and Emotional Outcomes on Young Adults Who Stutter. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, 11, 27-37.

[bullying, stress, anciety, depression, speech disorders, stuttering, quality of life]

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Disabilities and Degrees: Identifying Health Impairments that Predict Lower Chances of College Enrollment and Graduation in a Nationally Representative Sample

Colleges have increased postsecondary educational access for youth, including individuals with disabilities, but completion rates remain low. This study tests the hypothesis that health conditions that reduce social integration predict lower educational attainment among college students. Method: The sample from the nationally
representative Add Health (National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent and Adult Health) data (1995, 2001, 2008) comprised respondents in 2001 whose highest degree was a high school diploma (n = 9,909), focusing on subsamples of students enrolled in 2-year colleges and 4-year colleges (n = 1,494; n = 2,721). For each of 57 health conditions in 2001, the relative risk of earning certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree in 2008 was estimated, controlling for precollege factors, including high school grades, test scores, parents’ household income, and full-time enrollment. Results: Health conditions associated with social stigma predicted lower educational attainment among 2-year college students including stuttering, being overweight, and health that restricts engaging in vigorous sports. A broader range of health conditions predicted lower educational attainment among 4-year college students, including restrictions on climbing one and several flights of stairs and walking one and several blocks. Contributions: Stigmatized health conditions may disproportionately reduce educational attainment by impacting students’ social integration in 2-year colleges. Improved awareness may reduce the impact of unconscious stigma. Until 4-year colleges improve accommodations, students may benefit by earning credentials at 2-year colleges before transferring to 4-year institutions.
#stuttering

Rosenbaum, Janet E. (2018). Disabilities and Degrees: Identifying Health Impairments that Predict Lower Chances of College Enrollment and Graduation in a Nationally Representative Sample. Community College Review, 46, 145-175 https://doi.org/10.1177/0091552118762630

[health, matriculation, college completion, social integration, stuttering]

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The linguistic aspects of the speech of Jordanian children who stutter

The influence of linguistic variables on moments of stuttering has been a popular area of research for several years. The purpose of this study is to assess the linguistic factors of the speech of children who stutter. Forty-one children who stutter (31 males, 10 females) were selected from 14 schools with age range of 6–13 years.
Phonological and morphological variables were measured using spontaneous speech task, whereas syntactic variables were measured using sentence completion task. Results indicated significantly that (a) inflected words (M = 50, SD = 30) are more likely to be stuttered than non-inflected words (M = 32, SD = 18) [P = 0.000], (b) stuttering occurs more on initial position of the word than medial or final position [P = 0.000], (c) higher rate of stuttering is associated with increasing length of the word [P = 0.000], (d) long sentences are more likely to be stuttered than short sentences [P = 0.000], (e) the loci of stuttering is higher in stressed syllables (M = 34, SD = 30) than unstressed syllables (M = 24, SD = 20) [p = 0.002], (f) the occurrence of stuttering is more on consonant sounds (M = 36, SD = 18) than vowel sounds (M = 25, SD = 28) [P = 0.009]. These results support the relationship between the linguistic factors and the frequency of stuttering which could be taken into consideration in the development of treatment protocols for children who stutter. #stuttering

Alqhazo, Mazin & Al-Dennawi, Sawsan. (2018). The linguistic aspects of the speech of Jordanian children who stutter. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 109, 174-179.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijporl.2018.04.003

[stuttering, phonology, morphology, syntax]

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