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Temporal and spatial variability in speakers with Parkinson's Disease and Friedreich's Ataxia

Anderson, Andrew and Lowit, Anja and Howell, Peter (2008) Temporal and spatial variability in speakers with Parkinson's Disease and Friedreich's Ataxia. Journal of Medical Speech Language Pathology, 16 (4). pp. 173-180. ISSN 1065-1438

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Abstract

Speech variability in groups of speakers with Parkinson's disease (PD) and with Friedreich's ataxia was compared with healthy controls. Speakers repeated the same phrase 20 times at one of two rates (fast or habitual). A non-linear analysis of variability was performed which used some of the principles behind the spatio-temporal index (STI). The STI usually employs variation in lip displacement over repetitions of the same utterance and a linear analysis of such signals is conducted to represent the combined variation in spatial and temporal control. When working with patients, audio measures (here we used speech energy) are preferred over kinematics ones as they are minimally disruptive to speech. Non-linear methods allow spatial variability to be estimated separately from temporal variability. The results are tentatively interpreted as showing that PD speakers were distinguished from healthy control speakers in spatial variability and ataxic speakers were distinguished from controls in temporal variability. These findings are consistent with the speech symptoms reported for these disorders. We conclude that the non-linear analysis using the speech energy measure is worth investigating further as it is potentially revealing of the differences underlying these two pathologies.