People who stutter (PWS) can reduce their stuttering rates through noise masking and altered auditory feedback; such a response can be attributed to altered auditory input, which suggests that abnormal speech processing in PWS results from abnormal processing of auditory input. In order to characterize such abnormalities, we examined the functional and structural changes in the auditory cortices of PWS by using a 306-channel magnetoencephalography system to assess auditory sensory gating (P50m suppression) and tonotopic organization. Additionally, we employed voxel-based morphometry to compare cortical gray matter (GM) volumes on structural MR images. PWS exhibited impaired left auditory sensory gating. The tonotopic organization in the right hemisphere of PWS was expanded compared with that of the controls. Furthermore, PWS showed a significant increase in the GM volume of the right superior temporal gyrus, consistent with the right tonotopic expansion. Accordingly, we suggest that PWS have impaired left auditory sensory gating during basic auditory input processing and that some error signals in the auditory cortex could result in abnormal speech processing. Functional and structural reorganization of the right auditory cortex appears to be a compensatory mechanism for impaired left auditory cortex function in PWS.
In this study we investigated cognitive factors affecting the abilities of early reading and spelling of Hiragana characters by testing several cognitive abilities and the reading and spelling attainment of 145 kindergarten children. Multiple regression analyses were conducted using the scores of cognitive tasks as independent variables, and scores of reading and spelling tasks as dependent variables. For reading, rapid automatized naming (RAN), reversed order word repetition and nonword repetition were significant predictor variables, with RAN showing the highest contribution. For spelling, figure copying, reversed order repetition and nonword repetition were significant predictor variables, and figure copying showed the highest contribution. The scores of cognitive tasks were compared between good readers/spellers and poor readers/spellers. The scores of poor readers/spellers in RAN, phonological tasks, figure copying and immediate recall were significantly lower than those of good readers/spellers. These findings suggest that automatization, auditory processing ability and visual cognitive ability are necessary for reading and spelling in kindergarten children, and that visual cognitive ability is more important for spelling than for reading.
A questionnaire investigation about adductor spasmodic dysphonia (ADSD) was conducted on 43 ADSD patients. Questions asked for responses concerning gender, age of onset, duration of illness, treatment method and therapeutic effect. In more than 50% of the patients, onset occurred in their teens, followed by onset in their twenties and thirties. The average period until diagnosis as ADSD was 6 years and 8 months. Most of the patients visited several medical institutions before reaching a proper diagnosis, the average number of hospitals being 4.2. In all patients, surgery resulted in improvement of their symptoms. Voice therapy was also effective, but half of the patients answered that there were no changes. Both medication and counseling therapy failed to improve their symptoms. Many patients obtained information from the internet and the mass media, while quite less information was received from their doctor. These results indicate that ADSD must be more widely recognized, especially among doctors.
It has been pointed out that children with hearing impairment have a limited vocabulary, insufficient understanding of words and sentence structures, and errors in verbal expression. To resolve these inferior language skills, we adopt sign language with auditory/oral language training from about the age of 1 year. In this report we investigated the sentence acquisition process in one severely hearing-impaired infant retrospectively. We refer to her word, sentence, and behavioral development as recorded by her mother during language training. The following findings were presented. 1) At the age of 1 year and 6 months, the infant started to express pairs of words in sign language without using particles. From this result, we instructed her mother to stimulate her using sentences with particles in daily life. 2) Based on a record of the infant’s behavioral development, her mother was encouraged to use fourteen types of particle. 3) At the age of 2 years and 2 months, the infant expressed sentences involving particles in sign language for the first time, and was able to use eleven particle types to create sentences by the age of 2 years and 3 months. 4) Training designed to encourage children to use particles to link words using sign language and finger spelling, conducted based on sentence expression without particles and based on behavioral development, helped this infant’s sentence expression to develop and demonstrated the ability to learn sentence structures in the infantile period.
This study examined the living circumstances and psychological situation of 184 laryngectomy patients after discharge from the hospital based on their own freely recorded descriptions. We assessed their quality of life (QOL) using Quantification Method Type III. The following factors appear to lead to an unstable psychological situation: 1) continuous effort exerted to adjust to their social life within the parameters of their postoperative physical condition, 2) feelings of fulfillment from doing what they want, such as pursuing a hobby, and 3) conscious management of their public image in daily life. Based on the information provided in the survey, medical professionals should communicate with laryngectomy patients to ensure that they address their feelings, and provide support to improve their QOL and psychosocial cognition.
Adequate management of dysphagia patients at home is difficult. Here, we introduce a new scheme for management of dysphagia at home organaized by an ENT physician, primary physician, and other medical staff.