Even if the genetic cause for stuttering is found, a cure could take years to develop, according to Drayna.
A drug called Pagoclone, which treats dopamine levels in the brain, offers a potential alternative. However, the drug is still undergoing clinical trials and the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved it.
"This disorder has been well described since biblical times and for 4,000 years, the cause of this disorder has eluded us," says Drayna.
Egyptian hieroglyphs painted on cave walls describe stuttering very clearly, according to Drayna. Centuries later, stutterers like Winston Churchill broadcast his speeches on the radio during World War II. Following that generation, Marilyn Monroe and Jimmy Stewart were stutterers who became icons of the silver screen.
According to the Stuttering Foundation of America, present-day individuals who stutter include athletes Tiger Woods and Johnny Damon, actors James Earl Jones and Bruce Willis, and ABC's John Stossel.
The future generation, comprising an increasingly wired youth, will benefit from technology in the form of wireless communication and devices like the SpeechEasy, Kalinowski says. "If I had text messaging when I was an adolescent or young adult, I would have used the phone rather than driving my car all over town trying to locate friends at their home."
Kalinowski, whose own childhood was marred by painful stuttering experiences, believes that "those who stutter have nothing to be ashamed of today and devices like the SpeechEasy open doors to new jobs, social endeavors, educational opportunities and more."
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