Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

Brief Clinical Note

Acquired stuttering as an early symptom in a patient with progressive supranuclear palsy

Kenji Sakai, M. D. 1), Eisuke Furui, M. D. 1), Kiyonobu Komai, M. D. 1), Masako Notoya, M. D. 2) and Masahito Yamada, M. D. 1)

1)Department of Neurology and Neurobiology of Aging, Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science
2)Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Science, Faculty of Medicine, Kanazawa University

We report a 57-year-old man with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) showing acquired stuttering (AS) as an early symptom. He had noticed micrographia at age 48, and thereafter he began to suffer from progressive speech disturbance at age 49. Neurological examination at age 57 revealed prominent acquired stuttering, supranuclear vertical gaze palsy, axial rigidity, disturbance of postural reflex, motor perseveration, and catalepsy, but no aphasia. A brain MRI study demonstrated atrophy of the midbrain tegmentum and dilatation of the third ventricle with a few lacunar infarcts in the basal ganglia. Anti-parkinsonian drugs were ineffective. We diagnosed his illness as PSP. His speech was characterized by repetition of sounds and syllables. It was more dominant at repetition of sentences than at that of words, and was improved with rhythmic stimulation. Although pathophysiology underlying AS remains unknown, the AS in this patient seems to be closely related to his motor perseveration and catalepsy. These symptoms may be caused by the disturbance of dopaminergic system from midbrain to limbic system and frontal cortex as reported in PSP. In conclusion, AS can be an early and prominent symptom which may be related to characteristic impairment of the dopaminergic system.

(CLINICA NEUROL, 42: 178|180, 2002)
key words: acquired stuttering, progressive supranuclear palsy, perseveration, catalepsy

(Received: 4-Jan-02)