The present study investigated the relationship between cognitive abilities and attention subtypes (sustained, selective, and switching/controlling attention) in school-aged children. Additional analyses of exogenous and endogenous attention types were also performed. Sixty participants were enrolled from the second, fourth, and sixth grades of a public primary school. The test of everyday attention for children and continuous performance test were administered in addition to cognitive ability tests. We found significant correlations between cognitive ability test scores and attention task scores. Additionally, we found significant correlations between the visual perception ability task scores and the CPT omission scores, and between the memory task scores and the CPT commission scores. Our results suggest that cognitive ability required by a task differs according to the associated attention function. Furthermore, our results suggest an association between visual perception and endogenous attention, and between memory and exogenous attention.
The repetitive saliva swallowing test (RSST) is widely used as a simple and non-invasive screening test for dysphagia. However, sufficient research has not been carried out concerning how saliva secretion may influence swallowing frequency. The purpose of this study is to clarify the influence of saliva secretion on swallowing frequency. Lemon water has been reported to be a good accelerator of saliva secretion. In this study, healthy subjects were instructed to swallow saliva up to ten times each after drinking three different concentrations of 15 ml lemon water (0%, 10% and 30%). Intra-aural swallowing sounds were recorded and analyzed to measure the timing of each swallowing and calculate the interval between two adjacent acts of swallowing. This study revealed that the swallowing intervals were not affected significantly in the first several acts of swallowing but became longer after several swallowing acts with no stimulation (0% lemon water). However, the acceleration of saliva secretion significantly reduced the elongation of swallowing intervals, with the effect depending on the concentration of lemon water. The effect of saliva secretion should be taken into consideration when swallowing function is evaluated by swallowing frequency. Repetitive saliva swallowing of lemon water could be a useful test for evaluating the function of saliva secretion as well as swallowing function, together with the conventional RSST.
The aim of this study was to identify activation areas of the brain for reading aloud Japanese words written in Hiragana and Katakana characters in 17 healthy female volunteers (age: 21.4±0.5 y) using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The word stimuli had a low or high degree of familiarity. We evaluated activated areas of the brain using statistical parametric mapping 2 (SMP2). The left and right superior frontal, medial frontal, middle temporal, left fusiform, angular and cingulate gyri were activated by reading aloud both Hiragana and Katakana words. Reading aloud Hiragana words activated the precuneus as well as the left and right inferior temporal and left posterior cingulate gyri, whereas reading aloud Katakana words activated the left and right inferior frontal, left inferior temporal, anterior cingulate and right postcentral gyri. The brain was activated 13.1- and 2.7-fold more when reading aloud more and less familiar words, respectively, when written in Hiragana. These results showed that the process involved in reading Hiragana and Katakana comprises the dorsal neural circuit described by Iwata. However, the amount of brain activation differed between reading Hiragana and Katakana aloud, and reading Hiragana was more difficult than reading Katakana.
Since 2013, we have employed the original method of Vocal Function Exercises (VFE) for the treatment of presbyphonia. To clarify its efficacy, we evaluated the pre- and post-treatment qualities of voice by various measures. The subjects were 13 males and 8 females. Ages ranged from 67 to 80 years old with an average of 72.4 years. The subjects were treated with the "base program" for 6-8 weeks and by "maintenance program" for about 7 weeks. Completion rate was 85.7% for the base program and 66.7% for the maintenance program administered to completers of the base program. After completion of the base program, significant improvements were observed in G grade, maximum phonation time (MPT), mean flow rate (MFR), highest frequency, vocal range, and VHI-10. Maximum expiration time (MET) also tended toward prolongation. In comparison with the pre-treatment voice, G grade, MPT, MFR, and VHI-10 significantly improved after the maintenance program. Highest frequency also showed a trend toward expansion. These results further support the view that VFE is one of the effective voice therapies for presbyphonia.
This study examined differences of language skills in forms and pragmatics between children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and typically developing children. The participants included 10 children (5-7-year-olds, average IQ: 90.3) with ASD, and 10 normally developing children (5-6-year-olds). We used twelve sets of four-sequential pictures. There were four different stories for each condition: mechanical story, behavioral story, and intentional story. The children were asked to verbally describe the story in front of them for each set. We collected narrations of the same stories from 10 adults without disabilities to make the basic story lines, and set four categories: standard unit, related unit, comment unit, and unrelated unit. The results suggested that there was no significant difference in total volume of narration, mean length of utterance (MLU), or vocabulary (token and term types), but the total number of errors in using particles appeared more in the ASDs. In the pragmatic aspect, the ASD subjects narrated fewer standard stories, and tended to narrate more unrelated than standard stories. Overall, the results showed ASDs acquired words as much as normally developing children, but tended to have problems in acquiring skills of syntactic construction and pragmatics. We concluded that it is necessary to focus on syntactic construction as before, but also to address pragmatic skills and encourage ASDs to narrate so as to be easily understood by others.
We examined children brought for consultation with a chief complaint of "speech and language delay" for the possible presence, and causes, of hearing impairment. The subjects were 167 young children (111 male, 56 female) who were brought to our department by their parents complaining of problems involving speech and language delay. The subjects' average age was 2.99±1.77 years. To evaluate their hearing, we examined each case by putting together a hearing test in accordance with the child's developmental age. In addition, language evaluation by a speech therapist was carried out by development testing. The results revealed 23 cases (14%) who were thought to have a hearing loss of at least 30 dB on one side. The most common cause was otitis media with effusion in 10 cases (43%), followed by bilateral moderate hearing loss in 5 cases (22%), bilateral advanced hearing loss in 3 cases (13%), unilateral hearing loss in 3 cases (13%), and unilateral advanced hearing loss with unilateral moderate hearing loss in 2 cases (9%). Excluding the cases of otitis media with effusion, in 10 of the 13 cases with hearing loss, wearing of a hearing aid was necessary. Meanwhile, of 144 cases deemed to have normal hearing, mental retardation was found in 50 cases (35%), pervasive developmental disorders in 47 cases (33%), language delay and dysarthria is 35 cases (24%), and 12 (8%) were unidentifiable. These results reconfirm the importance of developing an examination system for children with hearing loss, especially the importance of otolaryngological screening at 1 year and 6 months of age.
Japanese children with specific language impairment (SLI) have been reported to have difficulty using case-markers. These findings suggest that case-marker errors can be clinical markers of SLI in Japanese-speaking children. However, few studies have been done on the error rates of case-markers in spontaneous speech or in an experimental task. The purpose of this study was to investigate the error rates of case-markers in spontaneous speech and in an experimental task in Japanese children with SLI. The participants were 9 SLI children (7 boys, 2 girls), all native speakers of Japanese. Their ages ranged from 7; 7 to 11; 3, with a mean age of 9; 5. As spontaneous speech, the utterances of each child in free conversation with their teacher or the first author were gathered and analyzed. As an experimental task, a sentence completion task was used. Each stimulus sentence had two blanks which had to be filled in with the corresponding case-marker. The results were as follows. The percent of case-marker errors in the 9 SLI children was 1.5% in spontaneous speech, against 53.1% in the experimental task. The difference was thus significant. These findings suggest that we need to examine not only data on spontaneous speech but also results of an experimental task in order to identify Japanese children with SLI.
Labiodental sounds such as /f/ or /v/ can be spoken normally in English but not in Japanese. We treated a patient with a labiodental sound problem. Here, we report this case together with a review of the associated literature. The patient, female, became aware of her mispronunciation as a child, as it was pointed out to her by many people. However, she started treatment for the problem only after reaching adulthood. Because she had mispronounced words for a long time, she had a fear of face-to-face and telephone conversations. The problem also caused problems in her social life. We used the same maneuver in this case which is commonly used to treat functional articulation disorders. We gave her speech therapy once a month, each session lasting 30 minutes, and continued at that pace for six months. After therapy she became able to perfectly pronounce all Japanese phonemes, and her sense of fear in personal relationships disappeared.
The present study examined whether bi-mora frequency in the initial and final positions of words affects stuttering frequency in Japanese school-aged children who stutter (CWS). The participants consisted of 21 CWS, ranging in age from 7 to 12 years. Four types of three-morae stimulus words were used based on the bi-mora frequencies of the initial and final word positions: high-high, high-low, low-high, and low-low. Results indicated that bi-mora frequency in the initial position affected stuttering frequency only if the final position was low, and bi-mora frequency in the final position affected stuttering frequency only if the initial position was low. These findings suggest that the occurrence of stuttering is not independently affected by bi-mora frequency in the initial or final word positions. Additionally, stuttering frequency was higher for low-low words than for the other types of stimuli. These findings suggest that stuttering frequency is affected by the bi-mora frequency of an entire word.
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