PDA-Enhanced speech treatment for Parkinson's disease

By A. Halpern, C. Matos, L. Ramig, J. Spielman, and J. Bennett

 

At least 89% of individuals with Idiopathic Parkinson Disease (IPD) have disordered speech, however only 3-4% receive speech treatment. Our previous studies utilizing the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT®) have generated the first short and long-term efficacy data for speech treatment for individuals with IPD. Despite these advancements in establishing the efficacy of speech treatment for individuals with IPD, the “real world” treatment of speech remains an unmet need for the vast majority of these individuals.  This study describes the development and use of a personal digital assistant (PDA) with sophisticated sound processing capabilities, as an enhancement to LSVT®. This device was developed in response to the need for a tool that could help to make treatment accessible for more individuals with IPD, and help to sustain treatment effects. In addition it was developed to address the need for a data collection tool that could ensure delivery of consistent care among clinicians. Data collected from clinicians nationwide could be used to document the “real world” clinical effectiveness of speech treatment for individuals with IPD and to support speech therapy as “standard care”.  This report is designed to describe development of this device and demonstrate initial feasibility of utilizing a specially programmed, but otherwise conventional PDA for these clinical treatment and research purposes.