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The Relation Between Laryngeal Mechanosensory Detection and Laryngeal Aerodynamics in Parkinson's Disease
Michael J. Hammer, Steven M. Barlow, and Rajesh Pahwa

Normal speech production is relegated to near automaticity and is dependent upon a highly coordinated coupling of motor output with sensory input from auditory and somatosensory (i.e., skin, mucosa, muscle and joint receptors) systems. Models of sensorimotor dysfunction, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), demonstrate substantially impoverished sensorimotor integration and degradation of motor control. However, few studies have examined the relation between changes in sensorimotor integration with speech motor control in diseases such as PD. This presentation will describe a paradigm for the study of laryngeal sensorimotor control using laryngeal sensory detection thresholds and laryngeal aerodynamics. This paradigm is currently being used to examine the potential relation between sensorimotor integration and control of speech-related laryngeal movements in a group of patients with idiopathic PD. While further refinement of this paradigm is in progress, initial data suggest a significant relation between pharmacological treatment and changes observed in laryngeal sensory detection thresholds and laryngeal aerodynamics. In addition, these findings indicate that changes in laryngeal sensory detection thresholds may be predictive of vocal tract sensorimotor deficits beyond the larynx.

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