The Speech Neurophysiology lab conducts research on the neural bases of developmental stuttering, a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by frequent occurrences of sound-syllable repetitions, prolongations, and blocks that interrupt the flow and rhythm of speech production. Stuttering affects approximately 1% of the population, and 5% of preschool age children. The cause of stuttering is unknown, although accumulating evidence points to a neurodevelopmental etiology. Treatment options for stuttering remain limited.

Our studies involve analyses of brain functional and structural measures acquired through multimodal neuroimaging methods such as fMRI, DTI, structural MRI, fNIRS, and EEG.  Using these techniques, we are able to examine subtle differences in brain functional and structural connectivity that differentiate people who stutter compared to people who do not stutter. These findings are expected to help us better understand the mechanisms behind stuttering onset, persistence, and recovery and further lead to investigations to develop novel treatments for stuttering in the future.

Funded by the NIH (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)), our lab also conducts one of the first studies to examine brain developmental trajectories in children who stutter. This research is expected to lead to novel insights into the brain bases of stuttering during childhood. This research is currently being conducted at both the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and the Michigan State University (MSU) (East Lansing) campuses. 

Recent news

April 8, 2017

New article published in Human Brain Mapping, White matter developmental trajectories associated with persistence and recovery of childhood stuttering, is now available online! This is the first study to examine white matter tract development in a longitudinal sample of children who stutter. Results provide first evidence of developmental trajectory differences between children who persist in, vs recover from, childhood stuttering.

March 31, 2017

Dr. Chang was an invited speaker at the 2017 Boston Speech Motor Control Mini-symposium

March 21, 2017

New position opening for postdocs! Apply to join our thriving and exciting team of scientists, clinicians, and staff members conducting research to elucidate the neurobiological bases of stuttering. For details, please click here for more information.

February 17, 2017

Check out the lab's most recent article In Press in the Special Issue on NeuroImaging Studies on Stuttering in Journal of Fluency Disorders (Title: Anomalous network architecture of the resting brain in children who stutter. In this article,  whole brain connectomics analyses were used for the first time to comprehensively examine developmental functional connectivity differences in children who stutter. Furthermore, anomalous network connectivity patterns found in earlier scans predicted persistence or recovery from stuttering in later years. Click here for the article

January 9, 2017

Giving Blue – Thank You – and a Happy New Year! We would like to thank those who gave to the Matthew K. Smith Stuttering Research Fund on Giving Blue Day in November 2016. It’s now a new year, and with that comes a new opportunity to donate. All gifts up to 10,000 are being matched. Your donation supports innovative neurobiological research on stuttering. Our goal is to develop new and effective therapeutic interventions for those who stutter.

Click here for previous news