Effects of bilateral subthalamic nucleus stimulation and medication on parkinsonian speech impairment

Lucia D'Alatri, Gaetano Paludetti, Anna Rita Bentivoglio, Maria Fiorella Contarino, Stefania Galla, Maria Raffaella Marchese

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This study aimed to assess quantitatively the effect of bilateral subthalamic nucleus (STN) stimulation and medication on hypokinetic parkinsonian dysarthria. Twelve Italian patients (11 males and 1 female) with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (mean age 60.29+/-7.50 years) and bilateral STN implantation were studied. Neurological assessments and acoustic recordings were performed in four clinical conditions combining stimulation and medication to assess the degree of motor disabilities and speech impairment. Acoustic analysis was performed by means of the Multidimensional Voice Program and the Advanced Motor Speech Profile (Kay Elemetrics, Lincoln Park, NJ). None of the evaluated parameters deteriorated after STN deep brain stimulation. STN stimulation significantly improved motor performances and vocal tremor and provided a major stability to glottal vibration. Effect of stimulation on these parameters was superior to that of levodopa. No significant variations were observed in perceptual evaluation and in acoustic parameters related to prosody, articulation, and intensity after either stimulation or medication. The improvement of acoustic parameters related to glottal vibration and voice tremor was not accompanied by a substantial effect on speech intelligibility. STN stimulation was more effective on global motor limb dysfunctions than on dysarthria, but we did not report negative consequences on speech.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-372
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Voice
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Deep Brain Stimulation
  • Dominance, Cerebral
  • Dysarthria
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease
  • Sound Spectrography
  • Speech Acoustics
  • Speech Articulation Tests
  • Speech Intelligibility
  • Subthalamic Nucleus


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