Of all the therapies I have read about for stammering, the following, published in 1831, is the most unusual.1 One wonders whether "tincture of time" was not far more important than the use of cathartics.
A boy of robust form and florid aspect, of a healthy constitution, of more than ordinary activity both of mind and body, when between two and three years old, and after having acquired considerable readiness in speaking, was suddenly affected with so great a degree of stammering as to be almost incapable of uttering a single syllable. Two eminent physicians were consulted: they confessed their inability to propose any specific plan of treatment which might afford a prospect of success, but in consequence of a somewhat plethoric state of the child, they advised that a strong purgative should be given. The effect of the medicine appeared so favourable, that it was repeated three or four times, and each time with such decided benefit, as to leave no doubt on this point in the minds either of the parents or the practitioners. The complaint, however, shortly recurred, was again attacked with the same remedy, and was again subdued. After this plan had been continued for some time, it was conceived that, in addition to the purgative system, the effect of which, although so salutary, was temporary, further advantage might be obtained by adopting a system of diet which should permanently reduce the plethoric habit, and obviate the necessity for the continual repetition of the purgatives. This was accordingly done, and was rigidly adhered to for several years.
- Copyright © 1980 by the American Academy of Pediatrics