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Brain Res. 2010 Jun 23;1341:3-11. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2010.03.029. Epub 2010 Mar 15.

Targeted exercise therapy for voice and swallow in persons with Parkinson's disease.

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  • 1University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, USA.


Sensorimotor deficits affecting voice and swallowing ability can have a devastating impact on the quality of life of people with Parkinson disease (PD). Recent scientific findings in animal models of PD pinpoint targeted exercise therapy as a potential treatment to reduce neurochemical loss and decrease parkinsonian symptoms. Although there may be beneficial effects, targeted exercise therapy is not a standard component of therapy for the cranial sensiromotor deficits seen in PD. In this paper, we review the scientific evidence for targeted training for voice and swallowing deficits. The literature search revealed 19 publications that included targeted training for voice and only one publication that included targeted training for swallowing. We summarize 3 main findings: (1) targeted training may be associated with lasting changes in voice behavior; (2) targeted training of sensorimotor actions with anatomical or functional overlap with voice and swallowing may improve voice and swallowing to some degree, but it is unknown whether these effects endure over time; and (3) evidence regarding cranial sensorimotor interventions for Parkinson disease is sparse. We concluded that targeted training for voice and swallow is a promising but understudied intervention for cranial sensorimotor deficits associated with PD and posit that animal models can be useful in designing empirically based studies that further the science on targeted training.

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