📩 09/04/2023 00:45
Researchers from VUB are investigating the link between stuttering and sleep quality in children ages 4 to 13. They suspect a significant link between the intensity of children's stuttering behaviors and the quality of their sleep.
Previous research has shown that sleep problems can have many side effects. Drowsiness, fatigue, but also attention disorders, anxiety, depression and possibly stuttering behavior. VUB sleep expert Prof. "Children often show a 'fluency disorder' in speech between the ages of 2 and 5," says Olivier Mairesse. “Then, around age seven, the problem usually resolves on its own in about 75% of children.”
Link with ADHD
Mairesse seeks to explore connectivity through innovative network analyzes that can be used to visualize complex symptom associations. “This way, we look at what other symptoms continue to occur and how they might affect each other,” Mairesse says. Therefore, the idea of associating stuttering behavior with sleep quality is not an exaggeration. “This comes from previous experiments where young people who stuttered were given hypnotic to see if the intensity of stuttering could be reduced. Today, stuttering is also linked to ADHD. And lack of sleep can cause ADHD-like symptoms,” Mairesse suspects.
More participants needed
However, proving a link will not be easy. Particularly the number of subjects is a tricky issue. “Network analyzes require hundreds to thousands of participants,” Mairesse says. “We contacted 80 speech therapists and asked whether patients in their practice who both stuttered and did not stutter, or former stutterers, would be suitable for our study.” So far there have been 18 participants, of whom only 7 Dutch and 436 French-speaking stutterers.