Differentiating Impairment Levels in Temporal Versus Spatial Aspects of Linguopalatal Contacts in Friedreich’s Ataxia

in Motor Control
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Electropalatography (EPG) was used to describe the pattern of linguopalatal contact and the consonant phase durations exhibited by a group of seven individuals with dysarthria associated with Friedreich’s ataxia (FRDA). A group of 14 non-neurologically impaired individuals served as controls. The Reading Electropalatograph (EPG3) system was used to record linguopalatal contact during production of the target consonants (/t/, /l/, /s/, /k/) elicited in five words of CV and CVC construction, with the target consonants in word initial position. These words were embedded into short sentences and repeated five times by each participant. The FRDA group exhibited significantly increased consonant durations compared with the controls while maintaining normal linguopalatal contact patterns. These findings suggest that the articulatory impairment in FRDA manifests as a temporal rather than spatial disturbance.

Folker, Murdoch, and Rosen are with the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld, Australia. Delatycki, Corben, and Vogel are with the Bruce Lefroy Centre for Genetic Health Research, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia. Cahill is with the Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, Herston, Qld, Australia.