Articulation Features of Parkinson's Disease Patients with Subthalamic Nucleus Deep Brain Stimulation

Yasuhiro Tanaka, Takashi Tsuboi, Hirohisa Watanabe, Yasukazu Kajita, Daisuke Nakatsubo, Yasushi Fujimoto, Reiko Ohdake, Mizuki Ito, Naoki Atsuta, Masahiko Yamamoto, Toshihiko Wakabayashi, Masahisa Katsuno, Gen Sobue

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Voice and speech disorders are one of the most important issues after subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. However, articulation features in this patient population remain unclear. Objective: We studied the articulation features of PD patients with STN-DBS. Methods: Participants were 56 PD patients treated with STN-DBS (STN-DBS group) and 41 patients treated only with medical therapy (medical-therapy-alone group). Articulation function was evaluated with acoustic and auditory-perceptual analyses. The vowel space area (VSA) was calculated using the formant frequency data of three vowels (/a/, /i/, and /u/) from sustained phonation task. The VSA reportedly reflects the distance of mouth/jaw and tongue movements during speech and phonation. Correlations between acoustic and auditory-perceptual measurements were also assessed. Results: The VSA did not significantly differ between the medical-therapy-alone group and the STN-DBS group in the off-stimulation condition. In the STN-DBS group, the VSA was larger in the on-stimulation condition than in the off-stimulation condition. However, individual analysis showed the VSA changes after stopping stimulation were heterogeneous. In total, 89.8 of the STN-DBS group showed a large VSA size in the on- than in the off-stimulation condition. In contrast, the VSA of the remaining patients in that group was smaller in the on- than the off-stimulation condition. Conclusions: STN-DBS may resolve hypokinesia of the articulation structures, including the mouth/jaw and tongue, and improve maximal vowel articulation. However, in the on-stimulation condition, the VSA was not significantly correlated with speech intelligibility. This may be because STN-DBS potentially affects other speech processes such as voice and/or respiratory process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-819
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Parkinson's Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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