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Does a prolonged speech-like task affect speech in Parkinson disease?
Nancy Pearl Solomon & Matthew J. Makashay

This study was designed to test the common clinical assumption that speech is susceptible to fatigue in persons with dysarthria. Thirteen subjects with Parkinson disease and 13 normal control subjects produced sentences with multiple lingual targets before and after 60 min of fast syllable repetitions. Jaw movement was constrained with a small bite block. Listeners failed to detect a systematic difference in articulatory precision or speech naturalness when judging sentences paired for before-and-after the speech-like exercises. Acoustic analyses revealed little change in segmental characteristics of speech or in speech rate, but average voice fundamental frequency and intensity were significantly greater. These results held for both subject groups, thus failing to support the notion of exacerbation of fatigue in dysarthric speakers with PD. Rather, they suggest that 60 min of syllable repetitions is insufficient for degrading speech in either subject group. This supports the conclusion that speech articulation is resistant to exercise-induced fatigue. [Research support by NIDCD R03 DC06096; The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of Army, Department of Defense, or U.S. Government.]

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