Quantifying Speech Rhythm Abnormalities in the Dysarthrias PurposeIn this study, the authors examined whether rhythm metrics capable of distinguishing languages with high and low temporal stress contrast also can distinguish among control and dysarthric speakers of American English with perceptually distinct rhythm patterns.MethodsAcoustic measures of vocalic and consonantal segment durations were obtained for speech samples from 55 ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2009
Quantifying Speech Rhythm Abnormalities in the Dysarthrias
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Julie M. Liss
    Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Laurence White
    University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom
  • Sven L. Mattys
    University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom
  • Kaitlin Lansford
    Arizona State University
  • Andrew J. Lotto
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Stephanie M. Spitzer
    Arizona State University
  • John N. Caviness
    Mayo Clinic Arizona, Scottsdale
  • Contact author: Julie M. Liss, Department of Speech and Hearing Science, Arizona State University, Box 870102, Tempe, AZ 85287-0102. E-mail: julie.liss@asu.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Dysarthria / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Article   |   October 01, 2009
Quantifying Speech Rhythm Abnormalities in the Dysarthrias
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2009, Vol. 52, 1334-1352. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0208)
History: Received October 8, 2008 , Accepted January 7, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2009, Vol. 52, 1334-1352. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0208)
History: Received October 8, 2008; Accepted January 7, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 44

PurposeIn this study, the authors examined whether rhythm metrics capable of distinguishing languages with high and low temporal stress contrast also can distinguish among control and dysarthric speakers of American English with perceptually distinct rhythm patterns.

MethodsAcoustic measures of vocalic and consonantal segment durations were obtained for speech samples from 55 speakers across 5 groups (hypokinetic, hyperkinetic, flaccid-spastic, ataxic dysarthrias, and controls). Segment durations were used to calculate standard and new rhythm metrics. Discriminant function analyses (DFAs) were used to determine which sets of predictor variables (rhythm metrics) best discriminated between groups (control vs. dysarthrias; and among the 4 dysarthrias). A cross-validation method was used to test the robustness of each original DFA.

ResultsThe majority of classification functions were more than 80% successful in classifying speakers into their appropriate group. New metrics that combined successive vocalic and consonantal segments emerged as important predictor variables. DFAs pitting each dysarthria group against the combined others resulted in unique constellations of predictor variables that yielded high levels of classification accuracy.

ConclusionsThis study confirms the ability of rhythm metrics to distinguish control speech from dysarthrias and to discriminate dysarthria subtypes. Rhythm metrics show promise for use as a rational and objective clinical tool.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders Grant 5 R01 DC 6859, awarded to J. M. Liss (first author) and Grant F/00 182/BG from the Leverhulme Trust to S. L. Mattys (third author). Gratitude is extended to Katy Kennerley and Yu-kyong Choe for their assistance with data analysis. We are especially appreciative for those who supported and participated in this research, including volunteers from Mayo Clinic Arizona; Phil Hardt and members of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, Arizona Affiliate; the Arizona Ataxia Support Group; Pamela Mathy; and K. Sivakumar and his patients at the Neuromuscular Research Center in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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