Laryngeal vibration as a non-invasive neuromodulation therapy for spasmodic dysphonia

Sanaz Khosravani, Arash Mahnan, I-Ling Yeh, Joshua E. Aman, Peter J. Watson, Yang Zhang, George Goding, Jürgen Konczak

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Abstract

Spasmodic dysphonia (SD) is an incurable focal dystonia of the larynx that impairs speech and communication. Vibro-tactile stimulation (VTS) alters afferent proprioceptive input to sensorimotor cortex that controls speech. This proof-of-concept study examined the effect of laryngeal VTS on speech quality and cortical activity in 13 SD participants who vocalized the vowel /a/ while receiving VTS for 29 minutes. In response to VTS, 9 participants (69%) exhibited a reduction of voice breaks and/or a meaningful increase in smoothed cepstral peak prominence, an acoustic measure of voice/speech quality. Symptom improvements persisted for 20 minutes past VTS. Application of VTS induced a significant suppression of theta band power over the left somatosensory-motor cortex and a significant rise of gamma rhythm over right somatosensory-motor cortex. Such suppression of theta oscillations is observed in patients with cervical dystonia who apply effective sensory tricks, suggesting that VTS in SD may activate a similar neurophysiological mechanism. Results of this feasibility study indicate that laryngeal VTS modulates neuronal synchronization over sensorimotor cortex, which can induce short-term improvements in voice quality. The effects of long-term VTS and its optimal dosage for treating voice symptoms in SD are still unknown and require further systematic study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17955
JournalScientific reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

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