Effects of Levodopa on Laryngeal Muscle Activity for Voice Onset and Offset in Parkinson Disease

Gallena, Sally; Smith, Paul J.; Zeffiro, Thomas; Ludlow, Christy L.
December 2001
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Dec2001, Vol. 44 Issue 6, p1284
Academic Journal
The laryngeal pathophysiology underlying the speech disorder in idiopathic Parkinson disease (IPD) was addressed in this electromyographic study of laryngeal muscle activity. This muscle activity was examined during voice onset and offset gestures in 6 persons in the early stages of IPD who were not receiving medication. The purpose was to determine (a) if impaired voice onset and offset control for speech and vocal fold bowing were related to abnormalities in laryngeal muscle activity in the nonmedicated state and (b) if these attributes change with levodopa. Blinded listeners rated the IPD participants' voice onset and offset control before and after levodopa was administered. In the nonmedicated state, the IPD participants' vocal fold bowing was examined on nasoendoscopy, and laryngeal muscle activity levels were compared with normal research volunteers. The IPD participants were then administered a therapeutic dose of levodopa, and changes in laryngeal muscle activity for voice onset and offset gestures were measured during the same session. Significant differences were found between IPD participants in the nonmedicated state: those with higher levels of muscle activation had vocal fold bowing and greater impairment in voice onset and offset control for speech. Similarly, following levodopa administration, those with thyroarytenoid muscle activity reductions had greater improvements in voice onset and offset control for speech. In this study, voice onset and offset control difficulties and vocal fold bowing were associated with increased levels of laryngeal muscle activity in the absence of medication.


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