Friday, October 12, 2018

Dr. Rosa Casco Solano-Lopez Research Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry, presents the Neurology/Neuroscience Research Seminar Friday, October 12th, 2018

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Room 5515, Biomedical Science Research Building (BSRB), 109 Zina Pitcher Place, Ann Arbor MI 48109

Imaging-Genetics Investigations of Stuttering: Preliminary Findings


Developmental stuttering is a childhood onset neurodevelopmental disorder that affects more than 3 million Americans. Despite the high incidence and significant negative psychosocial consequences associated with stuttering, etiology and pathophysiology of this complex disorder remain unclear. In this presentation, I will share novel findings from some of the first investigations of neuroanatomical differences associated with persistent stuttering during childhood. In one study, we utilized a surface-based analysis of brain morphometry, measuring size and shape of various cortical regions of interest. Children with persistent stuttering, compared to controls and children who recover, exhibited significantly less gray matter thickness in left ventral premotor and motor cortical areas. In the second study, a whole-brain voxel-based morphometry analysis was conducted, and brain areas showing significant group differences (persistent vs. controls) in gray matter volume (GMV) were compared to brain areas showing significant expression of four genes found in earlier studies to be associated with persistent stuttering. We found that regional expression of two of the four genes associated with stuttering (GNPTG, NAGPA) exhibited a strong positive correlation with between-group absolute differences in GMV. Further analyses revealed that genes associated with GMV differences in children who stutter were enriched for glycolysis and oxidative metabolism in mitochondria. Results indicate that certain brain regions may be particularly vulnerable to alterations in these genes during periods of sharp increase in brain energy utilization, which coincide with rapid language development and the onset of stuttering.

Soo-Eun Chang, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Rosa Casco Solano-Lopez Research Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry