Neurofeedback as a Potential Treatment for Stuttering
Stewart, Allison Reid
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The purpose of this study was to start exploring the feasibility of neurofeedback training based on electroencephalography (EEG) data as a potential treatment for persistent developmental stuttering (PDS). In this preliminary study, part of a larger project, visual feedback based on each participant's slow cortical potentials (SCPs) was integrated in a brain-controlled video game during 12 training sessions distributed over a 6-week period. For each session, behavioral data regarding game performance and pre- and post-training stuttering frequency were collected together with the EEG data. Two of three adult participants with PDS showed some evidence of learning in game performance and/or EEG data, and these two participants also showed limited--and inconsistent--changes in stuttering frequency during oral reading (but not conversation). One participant stuttered less immediately after each training session as compared with prior to each training session, in the absence of any improvement across the sessions. The other participant's post-training stuttering frequency showed a small, gradual reduction across the sessions. The third participant showed no evidence of learning and no trend toward a change in stuttering frequency. These initial pilot data warrant further investigation of (a) SCP- based neurofeedback protocols with more participants and over a longer period of time and (b) training protocols based on different aspects of brain activity.
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