Authors: Giddens CL, Coleman AE, Adams CM
Title: A Home Program of Speech Therapy in Huntington’s Disease
Source: Journal of Medical Speech Language Pathology 2010 18(2): 1-9
Year: 2010
Research Design: Case Series

The authors followed a group of 14 individuals with mild severe symptoms of Huntington's disease (HD) for a two-year period. Respiratory, phonatory, and oral-motor exercises were prescribed as part of a daily home program for all individuals to serve as adjunctive therapy to pharmacological treatment. Thirteen individuals demonstrated clinically-significant maintenance and/or improvement in respiratory, phonatory, and articulatory function with associated improvement and/or maintenance of swallow function for oral feeding despite progression of chorea in the extremities. In a follow-up pilot study, five carefully screened individuals with mild HD-associated dysarthria received a thorough cranial nerve examination followed by training in the use of respiratory (i.e., strengthening and control exercises), phonatory (i.e., glottal adduction exercises), and oral-motor exercises (i.e., lip and tongue range of motion and resistance training). The exercises were used daily in a home program and the cranial nerve examination was repeated following 30 days of exercise. The cranial nerve exam scores were significantly improved following 30 days of exercise. Implications for clinical management of HD are discussed.

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