Title

Speech and pause characteristics in multiple sclerosis: A preliminary study of speakers with high and low neuropsychological test performance

Abstract

This preliminary study investigated how cognitive-linguistic status in multiple sclerosis (MS) is reflected in two speech tasks (i.e. oral reading, narrative) that differ in cognitive-linguistic demand. Twenty individuals with MS were selected to comprise High and Low performance groups based on clinical tests of executive function and information processing speed and efficiency. Ten healthy controls were included for comparison. Speech samples were audio-recorded and measures of global speech timing were obtained. Results indicated predicted differences in global speech timing (i.e. speech rate and pause characteristics) for speech tasks differing in cognitive-linguistic demand, but the magnitude of these task-related differences was similar for all speaker groups. Findings suggest that assumptions concerning the cognitive-linguistic demands of reading aloud as compared to spontaneous speech may need to be re-considered for individuals with cognitive impairment. Qualitative trends suggest that additional studies investigating the association between cognitive-linguistic and speech motor variables in MS are warranted. © 2013 Informa UK Ltd.

Publication Title

Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics

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