Thursday, August 18th, 2011
Milan, Italy, August 15, 2011 – Hearing Beethoven while reciting Shakespeare can suppress even a King’s stutter, as recently illustrated in the movie “The King’s Speech”. This dramatic but short-lived effect of hiding the sound of one’s own speech indicates that the integration of hearing and motor functions plays some role in the fluency (or dysfluency) of speech. New research has shown that in adults who have stuttered since childhood the processes of auditory-motor integration are indeed located in a different part of the brain to those in adults who do not stutter. The findings are reported in the September 2011 issue of Elsevier’s Cortex.
Dr. Nicole Neef and Dr. Martin Sommer from the University of Goettingen, together with Dr. Bettina Pollok from the University of Duesseldorf, studied the performance of a group of adults who stutter, as well as a control group of adults who do not stutter, in a finger tapping exercise. They used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to interfere temporarily with brain activity in the dorsolateral premotor cortex while the participants tapped their fingers in time with the clicks of a metronome. In control subjects, disturbing the left premotor cortex impaired the finger tapping, but disturbing the right premotor cortex had no effect. In stuttering adults, the pattern was reversed: the accuracy of finger tapping was affected by disturbing the right hemisphere, and unaffected when disturbing the left.
Previous research has already linked stuttering with a right-shifted cerebral blood flow in the motor and premotor areas during speech. In this new study, a shift of auditory-motor integration to the right side of the brain occurred even in a task not directly involving speech. Thus, in the brains of adults who stutter there appears to be a profound reorganization possibly compensating for subtle white matter disturbances in other parts of the brain – the left inferior frontal regions. These findings shed light on the extent of the reorganization of brain functions in persistent developmental stuttering.
Wednesday, August 10th, 2011
PITTSBURGH (Aug 8th, 2011) — A local mother tells Channel 4 Action News that she tried everything to combat her depression for 30 years, but eventually became drug resistant. It wasn’t until she tried an FDA-approved device that uses magnetic impulses that she said she started seeing an improvement.
The woman allowed Channel 4 Action News cameras to follow her through a transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment.
”It’s uncomfortable in the beginning, but as the treatment goes on, you become accustomed to it,” she said.
Dr. Jasbir Kang, of Crossroads Counseling in McMurray, explained that in patients with depression, neurotransmitters in the brain associated with mood don’t work properly. Kang said the magnetic therapy helps to boost their effectiveness.
”The primary advantage is that it is noninvasive and the safety is excellent and there are virtually no side effects,” said Kang.
The FDA approved the device in 2008, and Kang was the first in the region to get one.
The procedure is not covered by insurance, with most patients needing 25 treatments. But Kang is hopeful that insurance companies will eventually be able to lend support. “As a matter of fact, I think there is a good amount of movement going on right now with respect to getting approval,” said Kang.
The local mother interviewed by Wright said she thinks the treatment is working.
“Is my depression cured? No, but I do have significant relief from my depression,” she said.
Monday, August 8th, 2011
BostonHerald.com (Aug 3, 2011)- The crushing depression started 14 years ago, just after Sian Hastewell’s son was born.
“It came out of nowhere and it took over my life,” a still-spooked Hastewell told the Pulse last week. “I tried every medication on the market. None of them worked. I tried electric shock treatment, and that just made me feel worse.”
She had lost hope by the time she arrived at Dr. Rebecca Cohen’s Newton office last summer for repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy.
For six weeks, she spent 30 minutes a day in Cohen’s office, with pulsating magnets on her scalp.
“It completely changed my life,” Hastewell recalled. “I’m on no medication, I’m enjoying my life, and my son, who is 15, is getting to know his mom for the first time.”
Hastewell is among the growing number of Americans turning to rTMS to combat depression.
The treatment hinges on the idea that every cell in the body has an electromagnetic field, and when this field is out of alignment, problems develop. RTMS then uses the highly focused magnets to realign a depressed person’s brain, and get it functioning properly again.
“It’s a lifesaver for people who don’t tolerate antidepressants,” said Cohen, a psychiatrist who directs the rTMS program at Newton-Wellesley Psychiatry.