Increased dopamine activity associated with stuttering

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POSITRON emission tomography using 6-FDOPA as a marker of presynaptic dopaminergic activity was used to investigate the role of the dopamine system in stuttering. Three patients with moderate to severe developmental stuttering were compared with six normal controls. Stuttering subjects showed significantly higher 6-FDOPA uptake than normal controls in medial pre-frontal cortex, deep orbital cortex, insular cortex, extended amygdala, auditory cortex and caudate tail. Elevated 6-FDOPA uptake in ventral limbic cortical and subcortical regions is compatible with the hypothesis that stuttering is associated with an overactive pre-synaptic dopamine system in brain regions that modulate verbalization.

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