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Acquired Stuttering in Veterans of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: The Role of Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Medications.

Norman RS, Jaramillo CA, Eapen BC, Amuan ME, Pugh MJ. Acquired Stuttering in Veterans of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: The Role of Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Medications. Military medicine. 2018 Nov 1; 183(11-12):e526-e534.

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Introduction: Determine the association between acquired stuttering (AS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a cohort of 309,675 U.S. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. The secondary aim was to determine the association between AS and medication patterns for veterans in the sample. Materials and Methods: Retrospective study using data from the Veterans Health Administration National Repository for veterans deployed in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and who received Veterans Health Administration care in 2010 and 2011. We identified stuttering using ICD-9 codes to establish the association between AS, TBI, and PTSD, controlling for demographic characteristics and other comorbidities. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the association between comorbid conditions and potentially problematic medications associated with stuttering. Results: Two hundred thirty-five veterans (0.08%) were diagnosed with AS in the cohort. There was the greater likelihood of an AS diagnosis for veterans with concomitant TBI and PTSD when compared with veterans without these diagnoses. Over 66% of those with stuttering were prescribed at least one medication that affected speech fluency (antidepressants, anxiolytics, and antiepileptic drugs) compared with 35% of those without AS. Conclusion: Veterans with a comorbid diagnosis of TBI and PTSD were more likely to be diagnosed with AS AOR: 9.77 (95% CI = 6.93-13.78, p < 0.05) and more likely to have been prescribed medications known to affect speech production OR: 3.68 (95% CI = 2.81-4.82, p < 0.05). Clinicians treating veterans with these complex comorbid conditions should consider the impact of medications on speech fluency.

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