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Keywords:

  • sensorimotor adaptation;
  • speech production;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • speech motor learning;
  • auditory feedback

ABSTRACT

The basal ganglia are involved in establishing motor plans for a wide range of behaviors. Parkinson's disease (PD) is a manifestation of basal ganglia dysfunction associated with a deficit in sensorimotor integration and difficulty in acquiring new motor sequences, thereby affecting motor learning. Previous studies of sensorimotor integration and sensorimotor adaptation in PD have focused on limb movements using visual and force-field alterations. Here, we report the results from a sensorimotor adaptation experiment investigating the ability of PD patients to make speech motor adjustments to a constant and predictable auditory feedback manipulation. Participants produced speech while their auditory feedback was altered and maintained in a manner consistent with a change in tongue position. The degree of adaptation was associated with the severity of motor symptoms. The patients with PD exhibited adaptation to the induced sensory error; however, the degree of adaptation was reduced compared with healthy, age-matched control participants. The reduced capacity to adapt to a change in auditory feedback is consistent with reduced gain in the sensorimotor system for speech and with previous studies demonstrating limitations in the adaptation of limb movements after changes in visual feedback among patients with PD. © 2013 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society