Ataxic Dysarthria Although ataxic dysarthria has been studied with various methods in several languages, questions remain concerning which features of the disorder are most consistent, which speaking tasks are most sensitive to the disorder, and whether the different speech production subsystems are uniformly affected. Perceptual and acoustic data were obtained from 14 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2000
Ataxic Dysarthria
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ray D. Kent
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Jane Finley Kent
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Joe R. Duffy
    Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN
  • Jack E. Thomas
    Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN
  • Gary Weismer
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Sarah Stuntebeck
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Contact author: Ray D. Kent, PhD, Waisman Center Room 435, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1500 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705-2280. Email: kentray@waisman.wisc.edu
    Contact author: Ray D. Kent, PhD, Waisman Center Room 435, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1500 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705-2280. Email: kentray@waisman.wisc.edu×
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: kentray@waisman.wisc.edu
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Dysarthria / Normal Language Processing / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2000
Ataxic Dysarthria
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2000, Vol. 43, 1275-1289. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4305.1275
History: Received July 21, 1999 , Accepted March 14, 2000
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2000, Vol. 43, 1275-1289. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4305.1275
History: Received July 21, 1999; Accepted March 14, 2000

Although ataxic dysarthria has been studied with various methods in several languages, questions remain concerning which features of the disorder are most consistent, which speaking tasks are most sensitive to the disorder, and whether the different speech production subsystems are uniformly affected. Perceptual and acoustic data were obtained from 14 individuals (seven men, seven women) with ataxic dysarthria for several speaking tasks, including sustained vowel phonation, syllable repetition, sentence recitation, and conversation. Multidimensional acoustic analyses of sustained vowel phonation showed that the largest and most frequent abnormality for both men and women was a long-term variability of fundamental frequency. Other measures with a high frequency of abnormality were shimmer and peak amplitude variation (for both sexes) and jitter (for women). Syllable alternating motion rate (AMR) was typically slow and irregular in its temporal pattern. In addition, the energy maxima and minima often were highly variable across repeated syllables, and this variability is thought to reflect poorly coordinated respiratory function and inadequate articulatory/voicing control. Syllable rates tended to be slower for sentence recitation and conversation than for AMR, but the three rates were highly similar. Formant-frequency ranges during sentence production were essentially normal, showing that articulatory hypometria is not a pervasive problem. Conversational samples varied considerably across subjects in intelligibility and number of words/ morphemes in a breath group. Qualitative analyses of unintelligible episodes in conversation showed that these samples generally had a fairly well-defined syllable pattern but subjects differed in the degree to which the acoustic contrasts typical of consonant and vowel sequences were maintained. For some individuals, an intelligibility deficit occurred in the face of highly distinctive (and contrastive) acoustic patterns.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported in part by research grant No. 5 R01 DC 00319 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD-NIH).
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