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04/19/09

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Dr Gerald Maguire is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Dean of Residency Training at the University of California Irvine Medical Center (UCI), Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior.  Dr. Maguire is a leader in the field of medical research on stuttering.

More than two million adults stutter in the United States today.  Stuttering can be a significant disability, and people who stutter may often be discriminated against when seeking employment, in the workplace and socially.  Famous people who stuttered include Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe, Carly Simon, Charles Darwin, Lewis Caroll, and King George VI (father of Queen Elizabeth).

Some years ago, Dr. Maguire theorized that stuttering was connected with dopamine, an important neurotransmitter in the brain.  In a nutshell: if you don't have enough dopamine, you may get Parkinsons (remember 'Awakenings'?).  Too much dopamine and you may stutter or have tourettes.

More than ten years ago, Dr. Maguire conducted a Clinical Study on Risperdal (Risperidone, Jansenn LP) in the treatment of stuttering.  I met him at that time, and in 1999 made a significant donation to UCI Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry to continue and help to fund Dr. Maguire's work.

This was followed by a Clinical Study on Zyprexa in the control of stuttering, (Olanzapine, Eli Lilly and Company), which showed good promise.  Other medications have also been tested.

More recently, Dr. Maguire is managing an extensive Clinical Study on Pagoclone (Indevus Pharmaceuticals, Inc).  He is assisted by Dr. David Franklin and others.

   
Dr Gerald Maguire | Dr David Franklin | UCI Medical Center Neuropsychiatric Center

    
I don't want to summarize the results of the drug trials, but my view is that most medications work for some people, but nothing works equally for everyone.  Drugs affecting the brain sometimes have side effects, such as weight gain and anxiety, and these may not be acceptable to some people.  However the overall outlook is strongly positive - many people have been greatly helped by Dr Maguire's work.

In December 2006, Sidney and I made a gift to The University Of California to endow the 'Kirkup Chair in Psychiatry and Human Behavior for the Treatment of Stuttering'.  The new chair will enable Dr Maguire to conduct further research into the treatment of stuttering, and in 2007 a new speech clinic was opened on the UCI Medical Center campus.

In April 2009, I agreed with UCI that the new speech clinic will be called the 'Kirkup Center for the Medical Treatment of Stuttering at UC Irvine.'

 

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This site was last updated 04/19/09

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