Findings from a recent study suggest the importance of employing a variety of measures to capture functional communication problems experienced by persons with multiple sclerosis (MS). 48 adults with MS and 12 healthy controls participated in this study. Cognitive testing and dysarthria diagnosis (difficult or unclear articulation of speech that is otherwise linguistically normal) determined group assignment: (a) MS with cognitive impairment (MSCI), (b) MS with a diagnosis of dysarthria and no cognitive impairment (MSDYS), (c) MS with dysarthria and cognitive impairment (MSDYS + CI), and (d) MS without dysarthria or cognitive impairment (MS). Sentence Intelligibility Test scores, scaled speech severity obtained from the “Grandfather Passage,” and Communication Participation Item Bank (CPIB) scores were analyzed. Researchers found:
- Sentence Intelligibility Test scores approached 100% for all groups.
- Speech severity was greater for the MSDYS + CI and MSDYS groups vs controls.
- CPIB scores were greatest for the MSDYS + CI group and were not significantly correlated with either perceptual measure.
Feenaughty L, Tjaden K, Weinstock-Guttman B, Benedict RHB. Separate and combined influence of cognitive impairment and dysarthria on functional communication in multiple sclerosis. [Published online ahead of print July 26, 2018]. Am J Speech Lang Pathol. doi:10.1044/2018_AJSLP-17-0174.
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