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

September 7, 2018

The SNL Summer newsletter is out! Click here to read about what we've been up to. 

August 24, 2018

UM and MSU members of the Speech Neurophysiology Lab attended the Inagural Great Lakes Stuttering Research Symposium at Michigan State University. Researchers focused on advancing basic and clinical research, from MSU, UM, Indiana university, Wayne state university, U Toledo, Kent State university, and Purdue university attended.

July 13-16, 2018

Dr. Chang and PhD students Greg Spray, Chelsea Johnson, and Erica Lescht attended the 2018 Inagural Joint World Congress on Stuttering and Cluttering held in Hiroshima, Japan (July 13-16).

Lab presentations included:

Dr. Chang presented two Junior Researcher Forums with Dr. Nan Bernstein Ratner.

Greg Spray gave a presentation entitled: Neural Processes Underlying Phonological Awareness Differentiates Persistence and Recovery in Young Children Who Stutter (authors: Gregory Spray, Amanda Hampton Wray).

Erica Lescht, Gregory Spray, and Chelsea Johnson presented a poster entitled: Neural Correlates of Lexical Diversity in Children Who Do and Do Not Stutter (authors: Erica Lescht, Gregory Spray, Chelsea Johnson, Emily Garnett, Ho Ming Chow, Soo-Eun Chang).

June 14-16, 2018

Dr. Chang and PhD students Greg Spray and Chelsea Johnson attended the 3rd International Conference on Stuttering in Rome, Italy.

Dr. Chang gave a presentation entitled: Neuroanatomical bases of childhood stuttering persistence and recovery. Chelsea Johnson gave a presentation entitled: Mock MRI training procedures improve chances of successful MRI data acquisition in pre- school-age children who do and do not stutter. (authors: Chelsea Johnson, Saralyn Rubsam, Megan Sheppard, Ho Ming Chow, Soo-Eun Chang).

June 4, 2018

New article in Press in the journal Brain!

Garnett, E.O., Chow, H., Nieto Castañón, A., Tourville, J., Guenther, F., Chang, S-E.  Anomalous morphology in left hemisphere motor and premotor cortex of children who stutter. Click here to check it out. 

April 20, 2018

The lab’s new article: A Systematic Literature Review of Sex Differences in Childhood Language and Brain Development  by Etchell et al. was recently published in the journal Neuropsychologia. Click here to take a look.


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