Study Analyzes Effects of Levodopa on early Parkinson’s Speech Symptoms
A recently conducted study analyzed the effects of levodopa, a drug used to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. McKnight’s reports the study found that levodopa does not have an effect on speech in early stage disease.
About 90 percent of diagnosed patients experience hypokinetic dysarthria which constitutes monotone or emotionless speech patterns. Earlier studies could not determine whether levodopa was tied to these pattern changes in Parkinson’s patients.
The most recent study analyzed the speech of about 60 participants who had early-stage Parkinson’s. With an acoustic analysis, changes in speech patterns were studied. One study group consisted of patients taking levodopa and who had improvement in motor symptoms as a result of the medicine. The control group consisted of patients who did not have symptom relief from the drug. The findings were also compared to a group of participants who did not have a Parkinson’s diagnosis.
The study concluded that levodopa did not affect any of the seven parameters of speech and voice performance in both the study and the control groups. The results were consistent when there were different amounts of drugs in the patient’s systems during “on” and “off” periods.
Rusz and colleagues stated that speech relating to Parkinson’s was not altered by the dopaminergic medicine.
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