Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 121, Issue 12, pp 1529–1539 | Cite as

Characteristics and occurrence of speech impairment in Huntington’s disease: possible influence of antipsychotic medication

  • Jan Rusz
  • Jiří Klempíř
  • Tereza Tykalová
  • Eva Baborová
  • Roman Čmejla
  • Evžen Růžička
  • Jan Roth
Neurology and Preclinical Neurological Studies - Original Article

Abstract

Although motor speech impairment is a common manifestation of Huntington’s disease (HD), its description remains limited. The aim of the current study was therefore to estimate the occurrence and characteristics of speech disorder in HD and to explore the influence of antipsychotic medication on speech performance. Speech samples, including reading passage and monologue, were acquired from 40 individuals diagnosed with HD and 40 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Objective acoustic analyses were used to evaluate key aspects of speech including vowel articulation, intensity, pitch and timing. A predictive model was constructed to detect the occurrence and most prominent patterns of speech dysfunction in HD. We revealed that 93 % of HD patients manifest some degree of speech impairment. Decreased number of pauses, slower articulation rate, imprecise vowel articulation and excess intensity variations were found to be the most salient patterns of speech dysfunction in HD. We further demonstrated that antipsychotic medication may induce excessive loudness and pitch variations perceptually resembling excess patterns of word stress, and may also accentuate general problems with speech timing. Additionally, antipsychotics induced a slight improvement of vowel articulation. Specific speech alterations observed in HD patients indicate that speech production may reflect the pathophysiology of the disease as well as treatment effects, and may therefore be considered a valuable marker of functional disability in HD.

Keywords

Huntington’s disease Hyperkinetic dysarthria Speech disorder Acoustic analysis Neuroleptic medication 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Rusz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jiří Klempíř
    • 2
  • Tereza Tykalová
    • 1
  • Eva Baborová
    • 2
  • Roman Čmejla
    • 1
  • Evžen Růžička
    • 2
  • Jan Roth
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Circuit Theory, Faculty of Electrical EngineeringCzech Technical University in PraguePrague 6Czech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Neurology, Centre of Clinical Neuroscience, First Faculty of MedicineCharles University in PraguePrague 2Czech Republic

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