New research reclaims the power of speech

Apr 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A UQ researcher has revealed a new treatment for a speech disorder that commonly affects those who have suffered a stroke or brain injury.

PhD graduate Dr Rachel Wenke has shown in a recent study that the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment® may be an effective option for dysarthria patients suffering from and (TBI).

Dysarthria is a speech disorder which negatively affects a person's ability to communicate as they can be difficult to understand and may sound like they have slurred or unclear speech.

The disorder affects 75% of individuals with Parkinson's disease, up to 30% of those who have experienced a stroke and about 60% of individuals with TBI.

The program was originally designed to assist Parkinson's patients, and Dr Wenke is the first to trial the method's effectiveness in a group study involving other neurological conditions.

"This research will also help to provide speech pathologists evidence for treatments for the disorder, which may also encourage further research in the area," she said.

In the study, the effectiveness of the treatment was compared with traditional dysarthria therapy for 26 participants ranging from 18 to 88 years who had experienced stroke and TBI.

The findings revealed that participants who received the treatment demonstrated positive effects of a louder and clearer voice and slower rate of speech.

Many participants also reported increased confidence in their ability to communicate which significantly improved their quality of life and well-being.

"For instance, after receiving the treatment, one participant reported that the quality of his relationship with his wife had actually improved because his wife could now understand him, whereas before treatment, they would hardly communicate," Dr Wenke said.

"My findings have also shown that people who lived with dysarthria for up to 21 years were able to make improvements following treatment, therefore the mindset of not treating patients who have not improved in one or two years should be challenged."

The LSVT® program is an intensive therapy administered one hour a day, four days a week for 4 weeks. The patients are trained to use loud speech in progressively more difficult tasks.

Dr Wenke's research will be published in and the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders.

Provided by University of Queensland (news : web)

Explore further: Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Unlocking the brain after stroke

Sep 23, 2008

University of Queensland research is set to unlock the regions of the brain central to successful language treatment following a stroke.

Cognitive rehab helps people with acquired brain injury

Jan 13, 2009

Cognitive rehabilitation after a serious brain injury or stroke can help the mind in much the same way that physical therapy helps the body, according to a new meta-analysis. Because the data suggest that treatment may work ...

How brain injury leads to seizures, memory problems

Oct 18, 2006

In a finding that may provide a scientific basis for eventual treatment, neurology researchers have shown that traumatic brain injury reduces the level of a protein that helps keep brain activity in balance. The resulting ...

Recommended for you

Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

8 hours ago

Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other ...

Tracking flu levels with Wikipedia

9 hours ago

Can monitoring Wikipedia hits show how many people have the flu? Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital, USA, have developed a method of estimating levels of influenza-like illness in the American population by analysing ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Chronic inflammation linked to 'high-grade' prostate cancer

Men who show signs of chronic inflammation in non-cancerous prostate tissue may have nearly twice the risk of actually having prostate cancer than those with no inflammation, according to results of a new study led by researchers ...

Turning off depression in the brain

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...