Electromagnetic articulography (EMA) was used to investigate the tongue kinematics in the dysarthria associated with Friedreich’s ataxia (FRDA). The subject group consisted of four individuals diagnosed with FRDA. Five nonneurologically impaired individuals, matched for age and gender, served as controls. Each participant was assessed using the AG-200 EMA system during six repetitions of the tongue tip sentence Tess told Dan to stay fit and the tongue back sentence Karl got a croaking frog. Results revealed reduced speed measures (i.e., maximum acceleration / deceleration / velocity), greater movement durations and increased articulatory distances for the approach phases of consonant productions. The approach phase, involving movement up to the palate, was more affected than the release phase. It is suggested that deviant lingual kinematics could be the outcome of disturbances to cerebellar function, or possibly in combination with disturbances to upper motor neuron systems.
Folker, Murdoch, and Rosen are with the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld, Australia. Cahill is with the Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, Herston, Qld, Australia. Delatycki, Corben, and Vogel are with the Bruce Lefroy Centre, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia.