Parkinson's disease (PD) affects speech in the majority of patients. Subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) is particularly effective in reducing tremor and rigidity. However, its effect on speech is variable. The aim of this pilot study was to quantify the effects of bilateral STN-DBS and medication on articulation, using electropalatography (EPG). Two patients, PT1 and PT2, were studied under four conditions: on and off medication and ON and OFF stimulation. The EPG protocol consisted of a number of target words with alveolar and velar stops, repeated 10 times in random order. The motor part III of the Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) indicated significantly improved motor scores in the ON stimulation condition in both patients. However, PT1's articulation patterns deteriorated with stimulation whereas PT2 showed improving articulatory accuracy in the same condition. The results revealed different effects of stimulation and medication on articulation particularly with regard to timing. The study quantified less articulatory undershoot for velar stops in comparison to alveolars. Furthermore, the findings provided preliminary evidence that stimulation with medication has a more detrimental effect on articulation than stimulation without medication. © 2011 Informa UK, Ltd
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