As someone who sometimes has weeks of cluttered speech, and weeks where I'm perfectly fine, I'm now wondering if diet could be a contributing factor.
It alters your diet so dramatically and greatly reduces the types of processed foods you can eat.
Do you know if this is known in the scientific community? I am not a speech language researcher but I’ve never heard of allergy induced stuttering but the inflammation hypothesis really strikes a chord.
Ruled out as causes of the issue or excluded from his diet?
I'd be intrigued to hear more about your theory
Is it the Annatto itself that collected in my son's brain/frontal lobe and triggered inflammation? A brain scan at that time would probably help shed light.
Was something else there that Annatto reacted with/killed and my son's system inflamed due to the residual proteins (it's used as an anti-parasitic in native cultures - and yes, herbs can cause a die off as most lyme+ patients have demonstrated repeatedly - and I will get forehead pressure from a die-off, my son might be similar in that regard)?
In short, there's not enough data or an easy way to gather it.
"Inflammation has long been a well-known symptom of many infectious diseases, but molecular and epidemiological research increasingly suggests that it is also intimately linked with a broad range of non-infectious diseases, perhaps even all of them"
My way of treating it, hat, has been successful was psychedelics.
Microdoses and an introduction to the culture of these chems, there's ever more material of these online, then, 15 years ago when I first experimented and that's both exciting and sad because if you were to rely solely on social media/reddit/twitter ancedotes you really won't get the full package.
I'd look at forums, erowid and published research journals for the full picture. :)
I skipped classes to avoid doing that, i bombed many a presentation because I had trouble with certain sentences and it impacted my grades. I think not being able to make the best of time in grad school is something I can get over eventually, but a bigger regret I have is not being able to make meaningful connections with my peers in school because I'd avoid hanging out with people because of my anxiety over my stutter. In a way it almost feels like I never experienced
I still have issues with words starting with "A" which is unfortunate since my name starts with an A. I still speak really quickly which i think comes from a habit of trying to get through speech quickly to get it over with.
I do believe that a lot of it is mostly because of my anxiety as I speak just fine when i'm relaxed, and I've been trying to work on using different words when I feel like certain phrases/words will cause problems.
I was watching a streamer (Sweet_Anita) talk about her Tourette Syndrome and it was really similar, when she is feeling awkward the tics are frequent and obvious but when she's highly engaged and talking about something she cares about it doesn't present much at all.
Not sure if this would work for others, but this is how I see the world. It helps me battle stress.
He developed his stutter years ago after a softball accident (hit him in the throat). He ended up getting into standup comedy and is becoming pretty big.
All this is to say that the "impediment" actually adds character to him and makes him a lot more interesting and memorable in good ways. Maybe you can reframe your stutter in this positive way as well.
I took speech therapy classes once, but unfortunately did not complete them. My stutter is still there but I can now at least reduce it a lot.
I'm not entirely sure what helped me overcome the problem. If I'm relaxed, my speech is fluent. If I take deep breaths and think about what I'm going to say, the stutter rarely shows up. There are, of course, some words that I mispronounce still like "manipulative".
The only real ongoing issue is the learned habit of speaking quickly to try and overcome the stutter. Internally, I can understand exactly what I said, but externally it apparently comes out as a stream of unintelligible words. That's something I'm still working on.
The stutter comes back when I'm tired, nervous, or stressed. Apart from that, it's barely noticeable which I am pleased about.
How curious to know that it's all in the brain rather than a psychological cause such as anxiety which is what my parents used to assume. Perhaps I shall have to volunteer to help with future research.
Until one day. They had taught us a very artificial way to speak, a sort of very slow, very loose su-su-stuttering on purpose. 15-year old me hated it.
Then they made us go into stores, and ask for things using this technique. A couple of AA batteries, in my case, using that technique. I dreaded this, thought it was completely ridiculous.
But the guy behind the counter didn't care one bit, bless him. He didn't appear to notice anything and just helped me with my batteries.
That single exercise hammered home that it was ok for me to stutter. Completely unthinkable idea, before then.
That realization reduced the problem by half in one day, and I never really cared about it anymore. It gradually disappeared in twenty five years or so after that without therapy or whatever. It ceased to be a problem for me on that day.
For example, for men who have shy bladders (and it can get so bad they can’t pee outside their own homes), the therapy is to go to a public washroom and stand at a urinal for 5 min.
Yeah, 5 min. Don’t even try and pee.
Similar to you, they realize that their anxiety around people caring or even noticing isn’t based on how people would actually react.
The anxiety subsides and typically the physical manifestation of that anxiety also goes away.
Apparently works for fear of heights, fear of flying, etc. in those cases the anxiety is less around other people’s reactions (though it can be - people are fearful they will freak out and embarrass themselves) but just the idea that exposing yourself to anxiety provoking situations for long enough (and in a controlled manner) will cause your brain to react less and less to it in the future.
Works for me with heights to some extent. When I go skiing, the first day of the season is terrible on the chair lifts. Then it gets better. There's still some height threshold I can't deal with very well, so it's not a perfect solution. But there is an improvement.
I have a stutter too and this was a very interesting article to add to my "head-canon" on why people stutter. My stutter is also affected by moods. Maybe we're living -- or rather, speaking -- on the edge of the brain-body connection.
Rowan Atkinson has a stutter, but not when he is in character:
"It comes and goes. I find when I play a character other than myself, the stammering disappears. That may have been some of the inspiration for pursuing the career I did."
> As illustrated in this paper, singing represents a promising therapeutic tool in a variety of neurological disorders. Singing is particularly useful in ameliorating some of the associated speech-motor difficulties because of features such as continuous voicing, decreased production rate, and increased awareness of individual phonemes. Although the precise mechanisms underlying the efficacy of singing remain largely unexplored, a number of hypotheses have been proposed
It's not pathetic -- it's just some fucking bullshit that happens. We need to cut through all the bullshit and love ourselves. :)
I'm not sure this model of thinking is fully correct. In a way, it's like saying that muscle cramps are all in the muscle rather than in their lack of hydration or their being overworked.
The substance of thought, emotion, and cognition is synapses firing, neurotransmitters transmitting, and neural connections being made. Like muscles, their movements flow as a result of environmental inputs, and environmental inputs that are stronger create stronger adaptations towards them.
The article doesn't say that it's all in the brain.
Exactly like me. I can say any word, surprisingly in a better way, when I'm alone. I struggle primarily with words starting with T, D like Trajectory, Tutorial, and few more.
Interesting how that works isn’t it?
The interesting thing was that this required thought and awareness, which is a bit difficult when you are younger. As I got older my confidence came, so became more relaxed in company and therefore less tense and so likely to stutter. I still do on occasion, but I am less concerned about it these days.
Anyway, it's a "resetting" technique, forcing me to coordinate everything by holding things steady for a bare fraction of a second when they threaten to fall out of sync and cause a cascading failure. It wouldn't work without breathing, but breathing alone didn't quite do it for me.
(Interestingly, relaxing wasn't quite a necessity: I never stuttered when I yelled in anger.)
Good luck to you and your boy.
People consider me articulate and eloquent.
When I'm not regulating I can still ramble until I'm out of breath. Never stuttering though. More like a mid-atlantic improv.
I never thought of this problem as stuttering, but other people have brought this exact same commentary up to me.
Really happy about the progress being made in this field. Stuttering has been both a cause and result of my social anxiety, which people often mistake for aloofness or worse. Can't wait to try new therapies!
orig article: https://www.knowablemagazine.org/article/mind/2020/new-neuro...
HN commentary from two weeks ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24382722
A huge number of HN folks seem to have a stutter issue, maybe because they are also having a lot of thoughts while talking.
Interestingly another guy who interrupts his current thoughts is currently campaigning for re-election.
For me, it was always the simple appearance that my mind was thinking far faster than I could talk, and that would get in the way the farther I thought ahead and could no longer "multitask" on the two "threads" coherently, forcing a bit of a reset. As I got older, I lost my stutter mostly but I speak quite fast. To the point that many of my friends have to get used to my speech when the see me for the first time in a while. I have to consciously tone down the speed for some public speaking events (which I generally handle well otherwise). This is something I honed mostly over middle/high school. In some ways, I solved this whole issue in reverse - speeding up my speech rather than slowing my thoughts, though of course there was a bit of meeting in the middle.
I wonder if this section might be relevant to my case:
> During the 1990s, Maguire and colleagues were among the first to use a certain kind of brain scan, positron emission tomography, on people who stutter. They found too much dopamine activity in these people’s brains. That extra dopamine seems to stifle the activity of some of the brain regions that Chang and others have linked to stuttering.
If excess dopamine actually speeds up thought, that could more or less match what I experience. I have no idea if it would be experienced that way or not though.
I'd note that I would never seek treatment for this now with the stutter mostly gone. I consider my brain speed / speech speed a bit of a superpower or advantage in many ways and mitigating that as needed for specific scenarios is far more preferable to me than slowing down my brain to be limited to my "brain multitasking" speed limit.
Based on reading other posts here, it seems like fast thoughts tie back to a lot of people. I was lucky enough not to experience the nervous/anxiety part of it. I'm now wondering if that's an entirely separate experience, or simply an addition the mind can add on as one experiences stuttering.
Kids have a very good knack for picking the emotional state of their parents. They may not be able to articulate their feelings, but they can tell if the parent feels guilty, sad, angry, anxious. At least for me anxiety made it a bit worse. Try to find friends and family members who would be accepting and understand and maybe that would help some.
Forgive me if I sounded preachy or too direct, everyone is different of course, hope some of the advice helped. I wish you and your son all the best.
This might be why we do not see many problems with speech (in comparison to its complexity). Evolution thinks this one ability is extremely important for passing on genes.
A rather unlikely theory, if only because backwards gene flow was until recently anathema within the mainstream of human evolutionary genetics, but one that is readily testable. Unfortunately the jury is still out on the prevalence of stuttering in, e.g., China. Current studies suggest that stuttering is very rare in China. But the counterargument is that social stigma keeps stutterers hidden and nobody has looked hard enough to discover them. And to his credit Jordania agrees that the existing data, while favorable to his hypothesis, is underwhelming and that true prevalence remains an open question.
 I like his approach more generally, though. Jordania's broader theory for the emergence of human cooperative behavior is the only one I've ever encountered that works in a classical Darwinian genetic model. All the others are implicitly or explicitly dependent on group selection, which is facially contradictory to Darwinian genetics and otherwise has yet to be shown in nature. Group selection might still be a thing, but regardless of whether Jordania's model is literally true in the specifics, Jordania successfully shows that you can find a series of eminently plausible steps that remain perfectly consonant with the selfish gene model; you don't need recourse to an unproven and seemingly contradictory extension.
It's the first time I've ever seen published a link between dopamine and stuttering.
As someone that has ADHD, and stutters - it's simply, wow. Just wow.
>risperidone, olanzapine and lurasidone.
>So Maguire wondered: could blocking dopamine be the answer? Conveniently, many antipsychotic drugs do just that. Over the years, Maguire has conducted small, successful clinical studies with these medications including risperidone, olanzapine and lurasidone. The result: “Your stuttering won’t completely go away, but we can treat it,” he says.
Well, a benzo, but I've never heard it before, but it makes total sense, it's ironic, but for me, it works 100% to make me focus, talk, think, be. Ritalin, caffeine, adderal works too, but, it's different.
Using Etizolam, Ativan, Valium, works great, for me, wonders, and I don't really become "addicted" to it = there's an immediate threshold where it's effective to where I become tired and sleep. I've read stories about people who abuse them, and my tolerance never escapes the basics medicinal dose which makes it super interesting as well.
So much excitement, answers, questions, in something I just accepted and found natural remedies too over time thinking "oh it's anxiety." oh it's "just my ADHD" oh it's "just me becoming more introverted."
I ask as a stutterer. :)
I open my mouth and sometimes the words just don’t come out. I can relax and think about what I want to say and it gets better. Or I choose a different word.
It's strange that because of my stuttering I'm now the master of ceremonies.
Also, know lots of synonyms, just to avoid saying the dreaded stuttering words that I feel are coming up I substitute them at the last minute. Sometimes it works better than other times. You probably know exactly how that is :-)
A thick skin perhaps from all the bullying I had received. At least I'd like to think so. But, I do believe I am a bit more resilient and persistent because of it.
This seems to help overcome a similar psychological barrier.
My experience here lines up with the experience cited by others on the thread.
To phrase what seems to have worked for me in a more systematic manner -
A. Micro level - deep breathing helps. At the end of a long day, when I am fatigued, my words get slower and harder to get out clean. I take a deep breath or a series of breaths and this usually helps.
B. Marco - meditation really has helped me deal with my own thoughts and insecurities ( which unfortunately stuttering tends to push more of), and find a core of Calm. The more I reconnect with that sense of calm, the more I feel like stuttering is within my control, and the more it helps.
Wouldn't wish it upon anyone - many days ended with me cursing and hating myself. Many days I would blame my father for it (easier to blame him, as a young boy) for not doing anything about it.
I would certainly hug every little kid I see with a stutter. Not just for what they are going through then, but to just let them know that "it will be OK".
If thoughts come into my head
I classify them into 2 - thoughts or feelings? Pleasant or unpleasant? and continue focussing on breathing.
I do the above 15 mins everyday.
This , for users of headspace, will probably be well known.
I just noticed I am still doing this in the same way, a colleague just autocompleated my sentence. :)
It might have been anxiety caused by the forced switch in handedness. But if so, why didn't stuttering reappear at other stressful times in life?
Or, is there a neurological connection. Writing and speaking both access language centers in the brain, so trying to force unnatural change in writing created problems in the oral expression of language?
Interestingly that only happens in my natural language. I have been living in the US for 8 years and that hasn't been a problem when I speak English.
Would be interested if someone knowledgeable could comment on this analogy.
More frequently, computer audio glitches take < 0.1s. They are 'pops' which a human wouldn't be able to imitate.
You can reproduce this glitch by playing with the latency setting in an audio program (like Ableton).
If I am relaxed I can talk for long stretches without pauses. But occasionally I have to take a second or two before I can get a word out, this is especially disturbing during a dialogue with a person I don't know. It's even stranger when it happens in the middle of a sentence. I am sure I have left many people the impression that I don't know something extremely basic, or am mentally handicapped in some way. I usually make a thinking face and vocalize a "hmm..." if I feel a stutter coming up, it's better than staring the other person silently during my internal struggle.
I know a word is going to cause problems even before I try vocalizing it, my brain let's me know in advance, I can feel the word being broken...blocked...sharp. I often reorganize sentences to get around them. If I really need to use that specific word I may start talking about something else, while battling with the word in my head, usually I can insert it into an in-progress sentence, instead of starting a sentence with it.
I think I only stutter when the word begins with a strong letter, like k,t,p. I may also be subconsciously bending/smoothing the other letters without others/myself noticing, but getting a k,t,p - especially at the beginning of a sentence - out of my throat can be really challenging.
Collecting myself, changing my posture, looking elsewhere, coughing, etc. can ease the first vocals out. Slight coughs or throat clearings are especially good for masking the bent first letters. Too bad about coughing not being in vogue right now.
It will not happen during singing, only conversation, especially when I feel its a stressful situation - eg. even asking something trivial from the shop clerk. When I was younger there were many things I left un-bought because I couldn't vocalize them to the clerk. I don't remember myself ever stuttering on the phone - though I may misremember. Sometimes I don't remember when I last stuttered, though I might not register it as an event any more. It has not ruined any moments. I have probably organized my life to have less triggers to stutter.
Overall it's a pretty stupid thing and I would prefer not to have it.
EDIT: I only stutter in my native language, I don't stutter in the couple of other languages I know.
What has worked best for him is developing a habit of being very open about it, e.g. explicit stating to new people "I have a stutter". This would remove the tension around hiding something. In general hiding feelings tends to be bad for humans.
And yes it feels like the perception is going to be you’re thinking slowly or forgot what you were saying, but no, miles ahead in my brain here with a huge amount to say, busy processing it as I speak so I can get it across succinctly and appropriately for the audience - then ... blockage.
Like you, I can tell I'm going to "block" on a word before I even say it. So it's less of what's thought of as a conventional stutter and more just a complete inability to say the word. It's a strange, almost scary, feeling to those who experience it. However, if I'm particularly excited about something, or don't care about the opinions of company I'm in, I occasionally "push through" the blocked word and it instead turns into a conventional drawn out stutter.
I also use similar coping methods, which as you note sometimes result in awkward situations. To give a hypothetical example, if I want to tell my coworker "I need to go home and let my dog out", I might notice as soon as I start talking that I'm going to block on "dog", so what results is something like "I need to go home and let my... [long pause as I try to think of a replacement word]... pet out." (Which of course leaves me feeling flustered, as I wonder what the my coworker thinks a dramatic pause before announcing I have a pet, and who says "pet" instead of "dog" anyway?)
This article was actually great, and does a good job of driving home that this is a physical disability relating to how our brains are wired, or our neurochemistry. Growing up in the 80s and seeing speech therapists about the issue, all the talk was around just "learning" not to stutter. Yes we can learn workarounds and coping methods, but at the end of the day it's still very much a biological issue, and it's obvious to those of us that experience it.
Reinforcing the idea that it's related to neurochemistry, I've noticed that any strong CNS stimulant (caffeine, etc) erases the stutter. And conversely, being in caffeine withdrawal (or just tired in general) amplifies it.
The good news is that I've found it's rarely interferes with my personal or professional life. It really only surfaces when I have my guard down 100% and I'm just engaging in casual conversation, while also tired or sleep deprived. When I put on my "work persona" for meetings, presentations, just general professional banter, it never surfaces. In those situations it's almost as if I'm talking through a manufactured persona, which would echo sentiments expressed elsewhere in this thread about the stutter disappearing when singing, speaking another language, etc.
On the other hand, I'm pretty confident the stutter is at the root of crippling social anxiety I experience in some situations.
Interesting. Are you slower when speaking these other languages?
Eventually I just accepted that I will stutter at some point when talking and tried not to worry about it and my stuttering improved a lot. Like others have said here, I do believe anxiety and the fear of potentially stuttering will actually cause you to stutter more (at least in my case this was true).
One positive though is that I am very good at finding similar words to convey the same meaning when in mid-sentence if I feel a stutter is coming.
Like minds. Sometimes I switch words (if possible) like instead of saying "cranberry lemon tuna salad" (I struggle/stutter at 'cranberry'), I say "lemon cranberry tuna salad", and later correct myself :-). I know it might not be easy for the listener :-(
1) Public speaking, I finished up to the old ACS level at a local toastmasters
2) Subconsciously building a wordlist that I stutter more than others, and using synonyms that don't
3) Playfully smiling and saying "Bleh!" out loud if I do catch myself stuttering, and repeating what I was trying to say.
To the well intentioned non-stutterer telling us to relax and slow down, go fuck yourself
Background: my son is diagnosed with TA, and he has a peculiar speech pattern, not sure if it's a kind of stutter. In my interpretation, he struggles to find the right word, and he goes back to correct the sentences he's speaking. The only advice that I can give him is to slow down and collect his thoughts, but the last thing I would like is to somehow make him feel bad.
It's easier for people to arrive to a conclusion (possibly an invalid one) about a man's suffering, than actually admitting they don't know what the cause is and try to solve the problem interactively with that person. e.g. She has lupus, oh it must be because of her weird diet. etc.
In your case, the best thing you can do is listen. Try to ask them questions like: have you noticed any pattern that decreases the frequency of your stutter? how about you try this or that? You also have to be careful and try not to be pushy about it. As a stutterer myself, I came to a point where I just got used to the social awkwardness and starting to accept to generally accept my stutter. It's giving me way less anxiety than it used to do. So, I'd be a bit annoyed if someone whom I don't really know that well try to interactively solve this "problem" with me. Because it's only a problem if it's causing me discomfort.
Also, showing facial signs of petty or discomfort is the worst thing you can do. When you're listening to a stutterer, don't break eye contact, because it shows that you're uncomfortable being in their shoe. treat it as if it's someone saying "ahh" "emm" a lot, most people filter out these noises unconsciously, try to do that. I understand it's a lot to ask.
Imo, the absolute worst thing you can do, is to talk to them a lot about it while conveying that it's a "problem" that needs to be solved and always trying to find a cure. My dad used to be very pushy about it and it caused me some serious psychological harm, because I never felt that I'm good enough, and I'd argue that it caused me to stutter even more, because he always wanted me to be perfect. Instead of discussing their weakness, try to talk to them about how they can leverage their strengths to be the best version of themselves.
Hope that helps, feel free to message me if you have questions.
In my case, my son is 6, so even though I encourage him to tell me his thoughts, given his age most of the time is up to me to provide, or at least try to provide, a solution or in this case a coping strategy. I'll definitely do my best to not be pushy about it and avoid unnecessary stress. Thanks a lot for your comment, it certainly helps knowing other perspectives and see that things seem to be working on your end. Best wishes.
Interesting. One would expect that from this it would follow that stutterers are bad singers.
It's worth a watch.