Thursday, January 12, 2006

Time line of discoveries

In my last post, I talked about the maximum understanding and treatment that is possible in the future.

Here is Tom's oracle for major research events in 2006 and what they will find:

1. Brain imaging studies of teenagers, children who stutter, and adults who have stuttered as children: They will probably show that structural abnormalities already exist from very early onwards, and that children and adults who recover also have structural abnormalities.

2. More detailed genetics studies: Past studies have localised the responsible chromosomes for specific cases. They will localise the genes on these chromosomes. The function of the gene(s) will probably be building a protein that is (partially) needed to direct the development of language and speech areas in the brain.

3. The pagoclone study: The results will be very mixed. Some experiencing great improvement, but other none at all. Side effects will exist but relatively small. Leaving everyone do wonder why the hell it works for some and not for others? The company will probably go on with the next phase of trials, but instead of a cure they will focus their message on "Pagoclone works for some very well and for others not at all. You need to try it out with your doctor to see whether it works for you."

Within the next five years, 2010:

1. Medication (possibly Pagoclone or others) will become available. It will prove not be a perfect cure, but alliviate severity for most and considerably for some. There will be more clues as to why medication works for some more than for others. Possibly subtypes are identified by other means, or effect of medication will be used to define subtypes.

2. Brain and genetics research is now 15 years old, and the field will have come to a consensus on the broad features of PDS within the brain and the genes.

3. Meta-analysis is finally becoming more important in fitting everything together, because by now experimental evidence is detailed and plenty enough to be able to construct good theories.

4. Most early baby-boomer professors / therapists with old (anti-brain and so on) ideas will finally be in retirement leaving the way open for new people. (I do not mean all professors, just some! :-)

5. Other brain disorders will have been sorted out giving clear directions on within which framework to think about PDS.

1 comment:

Rob Dunn said...

Hello, Tom: I am a lifelong stutterer who has unfortunately just discovered your great blog. I have been very excited about the deveopments with pagoclone. I was looking at a post of yours back in January and saw that you thought the results would be "very mixed" and even raised the possibility that they might not proceed with the other phases of the study. My heart sort of sunk a little bit when I read that.

Your recent posts seem a little more optimistic (maybe). Is there anything you can say to enlighten me more?

Thanks for your great work!!!!