Activating our brain for speech using transcranial direct current stimulation: Is it effective?

Luc De Nil, Cindy Nguyen, Narges Moein

Saturday 10:45AM - 11:45AM EDT



Research on developmental stuttering has shown that brain processes may be differently activated in both children and adults who stutter compared to people who do not. Behavioural intervention may benefit some more than others, and not all who complete such treatment experience long-term maintenance of fluency gains. Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, or tDCS, is a non-invasive and safe way to stimulate or inhibit specific regions in the brain that are active when performing tasks, such as talking, thinking, and memorizing. Our current research is aimed at investigating whether tDCS can be used to modulate neural processes involved in speech and non-speech motor tasks in persons who stutter, in order to improve performance. In this one-hour presentation, we will briefly summarize our current understanding of the role brain processes may have in stuttering. Next, we will review how tDCS works and how it can be used to modulate neural processes in the brain, including some examples how it has been applied in a variety of speech and language disorders, including stuttering.

What to expect

Participants in the workshop will learn about current research on the use brain stimulation techniques, such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), with people who stutter. In particular, they will:

  1. Learn about current insights into the role of brain processes in stuttering.
  2. Gain a basic understanding of how tDCS works and how it has been used to stimulate specific areas of the brain.
  3. Learn what we currently know about the use of tDCS with people who stutter.
  4. Learn about ongoing research at the University of Toronto, studying the effects of tDCS on speech and nonspeech tasks in people who stutter.
  5. Gain a better appreciation of future potential benefits and limits of using tDCS to assist those who opt to work on increasing their speech fluency

About the presenter

Dr. De Nil is a Professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Toronto. For over 30 years he has been researching why people stutter, what role various brain processes play in the onset and maintenance of stuttering, and how clinical intervention may affect these processes.

Last updated: 2023-09-05