The effect of unilateral electrostimulation of the subthalamic nucleus on respiratory/phonatory subsystems of speech production in Parkinson's disease--a preliminary report

Clin Linguist Phon. 2003 Jun-Aug;17(4-5):283-9. doi: 10.1080/0269920031000080064.


This paper reports findings on the respiratory/phonatory subsystems from an on-going study investigating the effect of unilateral electrostimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) on different speech subsystems in people with Parkinson's disease (PD). Speech recordings were made in the medication-off state at baseline, three months post surgery with stimulation-on, and with stimulation-off, in six right-handed PD patients. Subjects completed several speech tasks. Acoustic analyses of the maximally sustained vowel phonation were reported. The results were compared to the scores of the motor section of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS-III) obtained under the same conditions. Results showed that stimulation-on improved UPDRS-III scores in all six subjects. While mild improvement was observed for all subjects in the Stimulation-on condition, three subjects received left-STN stimulation showed a significant decline in vocal intensity and vowel duration from their baseline indicating the speech function was very susceptible to micro lesions due to the surgical procedure itself when the surgical site was in the dominant hemisphere.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics
  • Adult
  • Electric Stimulation* / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Phonation*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Respiration*
  • Speech Articulation Tests / methods
  • Speech Disorders / etiology
  • Speech Disorders / physiopathology
  • Speech Disorders / therapy*
  • Speech*
  • Subthalamic Nucleus* / physiopathology
  • Task Performance and Analysis