Transcranial magnetic stimulation in developmental stuttering: Relations with previous neurophysiological research and future perspectives

P. Busan, P. P. Battaglini, M. Sommer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Developmental stuttering (DS) is a disruption of the rhythm of speech, and affected people may be unable to execute fluent voluntary speech. There are still questions about the exact causes of DS. Evidence suggests there are differences in the structure and functioning of motor systems used for preparing, executing, and controlling motor acts, especially when they are speech related. Much research has been obtained using neuroimaging methods, ranging from functional magnetic resonance to diffusion tensor imaging and electroencephalography/magnetoencephalography. Studies using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in DS have been uncommon until recently. This is surprising considering the relationship between the functionality of the motor system and DS, and the wide use of TMS in motor-related disturbances such as Parkinson's Disease, Tourette's Syndrome, and dystonia. Consequently, TMS could shed further light on motor aspects of DS. The present work aims to investigate the use of TMS for understanding DS neural mechanisms by reviewing TMS papers in the DS field. Until now, TMS has contributed to the understanding of the excitatory/inhibitory ratio of DS motor functioning, also helping to better understand and critically review evidence about stuttering mechanisms obtained from different techniques, which allowed the investigation of cortico-basal-thalamo-cortical and white matter/connection dysfunctions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)952-964
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017



  • Developmental stuttering
  • Motor networks
  • Neuro-modulation
  • Transcranial electric stimulation
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)

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