Author(s): Ortega AY, Ambrose NG
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Abstract PURPOSE: Physiologic reactivity profiles were generated for 9 school-age children with a history of stuttering. Utilizing salivary sampling, stress biomarkers cortisol and alpha-amylase were measured in response to normal daily stressors. Children with a history of stuttering were characterized as high or low autonomic reactors when compared to age-normed references established for cortisol and alpha-amylase levels. METHOD: Salivary samples were collected four times daily over three consecutive days from children (6 boys and 3 girls) aged 6-11 years. Samples were measured for two important stress biomarkers, cortisol and alpha-amylase. Following laboratory training on appropriate sampling technique using the Salivette, families collected all samples in their homes. RESULTS: Compared to published references established for normal children, children with a history of stuttering exhibited mean cortisol and alpha-amylase levels that were significantly lower, though within normal limits. CONCLUSIONS: Results reflect an initial investigation into the use of salivary sampling to measure reactivity in children who stutter. As children who stutter have historically been excluded from physiologic stress studies, salivary sampling appears to provide an innovative and minimally invasive option for investigators. Though interpreted with caution secondary to the small sample size, initial findings suggest that in response to normal daily stressors, school-age children with a history of stuttering do not exhibit significantly elevated stress biomarkers. EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES: The reader will be able to: (1) identify two biomarkers that reflect activation of the body's stress response; (2) discuss possible implications the generation of individualized stress profiles may have on the treatment of stuttering; and (3) discuss and evaluate the research needs associated with the inclusion of children in physiological studies of fluency. Published by Elsevier Inc.
This article was published in J Fluency Disord
and referenced in Journal of Speech Pathology & Therapy