Stuttering as a Symptom of Concussion: Confirmation of Association Using Nontraditional Information Sources

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Abstract

Objective

A 12-year-old girl presented to our pediatric emergency department after a head injury with symptoms of concussion and acute stuttering. A PubMed search identified only 1 similar pediatric case. We investigated whether new-onset stuttering may be seen in the presence of acute concussive symptoms using an infodemiologic approach.

Methods

We conducted a search with a metabrowser search engine (www.dogpile.com) using the free-text words “concussion” and “stuttering.” The first 100 hits were scanned specifically for forum posts, extracting reports of concussions that were followed by new-onset stuttering. Duplicates were minimized by cross-referencing user name, location, date, and reported age and sex.

Results

Of the first 100 hits, we identified 17 unique posts that described an injury leading to a concussion followed within a short interval by new-onset stuttering. Posts were primarily by the affected individual (76%) and 64% involved female individuals. Sports and falls/injury accounted for most injuries (71%). Forty-one percent of posts explicitly stated that the concussion had been formally diagnosed. For those that reported the timing of stuttering onset (47%), the stuttering was documented within 1 hour of the injury (4/8) or between 1 and 24 hours (4/8).

Conclusions

The ease with which we found so many reports of stuttering after head injury with concussive symptoms confirms that new-onset stuttering may be a symptom of concussion. Our experience highlights both a failure of using conventional medical literature and a success of using nontraditional information sources in identifying uncommonly associated symptoms of frequently encountered conditions.

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