Speech and Language Characteristics of Patients with Parkinson Disease
Introduction: Parkinson disease is a chronic progressive neurodegenerative disease, and its main features are: bradykinesia, hypokinesia, resting tremor (including in lips and tongue), reduced range of motion, and muscle rigidity. These characteristics may cause difficulty of respiratory support, dysphagia, hypomimia, dysarthria, olfactory dysfunction, and vocal and writing alterations.
Objective: The study aimed to identify possibilities of early diagnosis of Parkinson disease in patients by speech therapy and smell alterations.
Method: Descriptive and quantitative cross-sectional case studies. We selected patients with clinical diagnosis of Parkinson disease and used the following instruments: Mini-Mental State Examination and speech therapy evaluation (which includes simplified evaluation of smell).
Results: The study included 12 subjects (4 men and 8 women) having an average age of 62.25 ± 10.28 years, time since diagnosis of Parkinson disease 5.2 ± 3.54 years, and 23.83 ± 4.75 points on the Mini-Mental State Examination with mean formal instruction of 4.25 ± 3.44 years. The stage of the disease varies between 2 and 3, according to Hoehn and Yahr scale. The participants showed alterations in breathing, voice, and swallowing. All the participants had a change in smell. Eight participants with articulatory imprecision and six participants with dysarthria had been observed.
Conclusion: The high prevalence of olfactory dysfunction in Parkinson disease can be the differential diagnosis of this disease and early diagnosis of Parkinson disease tool. Speech therapy and smell characteristics found in this study may extend the possibilities of early diagnosis and intervention on Parkinson disease.
Keywords: Parkinson disease, speech therapy, smell.