J. Anthony Seikel
Charles L. Madison
David G. Drumright
Univ. Prog. in Commun. Disord., Washington State Univ. at Spokane, W. 601 First Ave., Spokane, WA 99204-0399
N. Roger Cooke
Charles E. Brondos
Neurology Associates, Spokane, WA 99204
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease with unpredictable course and variable periods of symptom exacerbation and remission. This study identified characteristics of speech in MS that signaled increased disease activity of exacerbation. Speech of eight MS and eight control subjects was recorded at 5-week intervals for a year. Stimuli were CVCs in the carrier ``Say [underline (inverted question mark)(inverted question mark)] again.'' Durations measured included vowel in ``say,'' initial stop consonant VOT (/p,t,k,b,d,g/), target vowel (/i,a/), and post-vocalic closure preceding final stops (/t,d/). A number of speech segments were longer for MS than controls. Data from sessions were aligned by date of exacerbation of individual MS subjects and analyzed to determine changes in speech occurring before, during, and after exacerbation. Exacerbations revealed striking reductions in duration for vowels, closure durations, and overall sentence duration, and increases in voiceless VOT duration.