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Impairment of vowel articulation as a possible marker of disease progression in Parkinson's disease.


ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: The aim of the current study was to survey if vowel articulation in speakers with Parkinson's disease (PD) shows specific changes in the course of the disease. METHOD: 67 patients with PD (42 male) and 40 healthy speakers (20 male) were tested and retested after an average time interval of 34 months. Participants had to read a given text as source for subsequent calculation of the triangular vowel space area (tVSA) and vowel articulation index (VAI). Measurement of tVSA and VAI were based upon analysis of the first and second formant of the vowels /?/, /i/and /u/ extracted from defined words within the text. RESULTS: At first visit, VAI values were reduced in male and female PD patients as compared to the control group, and showed a further decrease at the second visit. Only in female Parkinsonian speakers, VAI was correlated to overall speech impairment based upon perceptual impression. VAI and tVSA were correlated to gait impairment, but no correlations were seen between VAI and global motor impairment or overall disease duration. tVSA showed a similar reduction in the PD as compared to the control group and was also found to further decline between first and second examination in female, but not in male speakers with PD. CONCLUSIONS: Measurement of VAI seems to be superior to tVSA in the description of impaired vowel articulation and its further decline in the course of the disease in PD. Since impairment of vowel articulation was found to be independent from global motor function but correlated to gait dysfunction, measurement of vowel articulation might have a potential to serve as a marker of axial disease progression.

SUBMITTER: Skodda S 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3289640 | BioStudies | 2012-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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