Speech Treatment in Parkinson’s Disease: Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT)

Background: As many as 89% of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) develop speech disorders.

Objectives: This randomized controlled trial evaluated two speech treatments for PD matched in intensive dosage and high-effort mode of delivery, differing in subsystem target: voice (respiratory-laryngeal) versus articulation (orofacial-articulatory).

Methods: PD participants were randomized to 1-month LSVT LOUD (voice), LSVT ARTIC (articulation), or UNTXPD (untreated) groups. Speech clinicians specializing in PD delivered treatment. Primary outcome was sound pressure level (SPL) in reading and spontaneous speech, and secondary outcome was participant-reported Modified Communication Effectiveness Index (CETI-M), evaluated at baseline, 1, and 7 months. Healthy controls were matched by age and sex.

Results: At baseline, the combined PD group (n = 64) was significantly worse than healthy controls (n = 20) for SPL (P < 0.05) and CETI-M (P = 0.0001). At 1 and 7 months, SPL between-group comparisons showed greater improvements for LSVT LOUD (n = 22) than LSVT ARTIC (n = 20; P < 0.05) and UNTXPD (n = 22; P < 0.05). Sound pressure level differences between LSVT ARTIC and UNTXPD at 1 and 7 months were not significant (P > 0.05). For CETI-M, between-group comparisons showed greater improvements for LSVT LOUD and LSVT ARTIC than UNTXPD at 1 month (P = 0.02; P = 0.02). At 7 months, CETI-M between-group differences were not significant (P = 0.08). Within-group CETI-M improvements for LSVT LOUD were maintained through 7 months (P = 0.0011).

Conclusions: LSVT LOUD showed greater improvements than both LSVT ARTIC and UNTXPD for SPL at 1 and 7 months. For CETI-M, both LSVT LOUD and LSVT ARTIC improved at 1 month relative to UNTXPD. Only LSVT LOUD maintained CETI-M improvements at 7 months.