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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Patient, Heal Thyself

posted by on October 26 at 14:28 PM

18 months ago, Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, lost the ability to speak due to Spasmodic Dysphonia, which he describes as:

Essentially a part of the brain that controls speech just shuts down in some people, usually after you strain your voice during a bout with allergies (in my case) or some other sort of normal laryngitis.

He was told by his doctor that nobody had recovered from the condition. There’s no cure, and the only real treatment is Botox injections into the throat, which only stops throat spasms from occurring.

The weird thing about Spasmodic Dysphonia, as Adams describes it, is…

… that speech is processed in different parts of the brain depending on the context. So people with this problem can often sing but they can’t talk. In my case I could do my normal professional speaking to large crowds but I could barely whisper and grunt off stage. And most people with this condition report they have the most trouble talking on the telephone or when there is background noise. I can speak normally alone, but not around others. That makes it sound like a social anxiety problem, but it’s really just a different context, because I could easily sing to those same people.

Now, however, despite the fact that there’s previously been no cure, Adams is able to speak again. How did he do it? The full story is a great read and can be found here.

RSS icon Comments


Good news for Diane Riehm & RFK Jr.

Posted by Dennis Rodham Rodman | October 26, 2006 2:44 PM

How strange! How would he manage to discover that he can public-speak despite not being able to normally speak, if he couldn't speak in private? They wouldn't let him on stage to do a speech if a mute.

Posted by Gomez | October 26, 2006 3:06 PM

As posted here:

He lost the ability to speak normally in a gradual few months.

Posted by Patricia | October 26, 2006 3:22 PM

Wow, this makes me wonder if there's a similiar experience as babies and toddlers GAIN speech.

Posted by amazonmidwife | October 27, 2006 5:58 AM

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