Publications by authors named "Daniel Aalto"

22 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

From lollipops to lidocaine: The need for a universal print-to-speech framework.

Can J Exp Psychol 2021 Sep 17;75(3):279-298. Epub 2021 Jun 17.

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Objective: There is a strong relationship between reading and articulation (Lervåg & Hulme, 2009; Pan et al., 2011). Given the tight coupling of these processes, innovative approaches are needed to understand the intricacies associated with print-speech connections. Here we ran a series of tightly controlled experiments to examine the impact of mouth perturbations on silent reading.

Method: We altered the mouth, via somatosensory feedback, in several ways: (a) a large lollipop in the mouth (E1), (b) a candy stick (bite bar) held horizontally between the teeth (E2), and (c) lidocaine that served to numb the mouth (E3). Three tasks were completed: (a) picture categorization, (b) "spell" lexical decision (Spell-LDT; "does the letter string spell a real word, yes or no?"), and (c) "sound" lexical decision (Sound-LDT; "does the letter string sound like a real word, yes or no?"). Participants ( = 97; E1 = 27; E2 = 32; E3 = 38) completed each of the tasks two times: once with a somatosensory perturbation (lollipop, bite bar, or lidocaine) and once without.

Results: For each experiment, a linear mixed effects analysis was run. Overall, we found that the lollipop (E1) and lidocaine (E3) had some specific effects on word recognition (e.g., for "no" responses), particularly in the Spell-LDT, whereas the bite bar (E2) had no effect on word recognition. The picture categorization task was not impacted by any perturbations.

Conclusion: These findings provide evidence that sensorimotor information is connected to reading. We discuss how these findings advance our understanding of a print-to-speech framework. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cep0000257DOI Listing
September 2021

Visual biofeedback for paradoxical vocal fold motion (PVFM).

J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2021 Feb 18;50(1):13. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Division of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Alberta, 1E4 Walter Mackenzie Centre, 8440-112 Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2B7, Canada.

Objectives: Paradoxical vocal fold motion (PVFM) is a common condition where the vocal folds inappropriately adduct during inspiration. This results in dyspnea and occasionally significant distress. The condition is thought to be primarily functional, with behavioural therapy considered mainstay in the non-acute setting. However, practice variations and limited access to speech language pathology (SLP) services can pose management challenges. We aimed to examine the efficacy of surgeon performed visual biofeedback as first-line treatment for PVFM.

Study Design: Prospective, non-randomized, non-comparative clinical study.

Methods: Adult patients referred for possible PVFM and congruent laryngoscopy findings over a two-year period were included. Patients were excluded if they presented in acute distress, had alternate diagnosis to explain symptomology and/or coexisting untreated lower respiratory pathology. Patients underwent immediate surgeon-performed visual biofeedback on the same visit day. The primary outcome of interest was change in Dyspnea Index (DI) scores pre- and post-intervention 3 months follow-up. The secondary outcome measured was change in asthma medication use from baseline to follow-up.

Results: Of 34 patients presenting, 25 met inclusion criteria. Of these, 72% were female with an average age of 36.9 ± 14.1. Approximately 48% of patients had a diagnosis of well-controlled asthma at presentation and co-morbid psychiatric diagnoses were common (52%). Pre- and post-intervention analysis showed significant improvement in DI scores (p < 0.001) and reduction in bronchodilator use (p = 0.003).

Conclusion: This is a prospective study that evaluates the role of visual biofeedback in PVFM patients. Our data suggests that visual biofeedback effectively reduces short-term subjective symptoms and asthma medication use.

Level Of Evidence: 3.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40463-021-00495-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7891140PMC
February 2021

Evaluation of facial symmetry after jaw reconstruction surgery.

Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin 2021 Aug 16;24(11):1212-1220. Epub 2021 Jan 16.

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The current study proposes a 3D objective method of evaluating facial symmetry after reconstructive surgery of orofacial structures. 3D models of the craniofacial and soft tissue surfaces were reflected about the mid-sagittal plane. The original model was aligned with the reflection and the best plane of symmetry was found. A deviation contour map quantified the areas of asymmetry and gave a global score of the asymmetry. The asymmetry scores were successfully obtained for 18 patients who had underwent reconstruction of lower face. The asymmetry values at craniofacial and soft tissue levels were moderately correlated (=0.39). Overall, the developed method effectively highlights areas of asymmetry and can help evaluate aesthetic outcomes of facial reconstruction surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10255842.2020.1870965DOI Listing
August 2021

Test-retest validation of a cranial deformity index in unilateral coronal craniosynostosis.

Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin 2020 Nov 21;23(15):1247-1259. Epub 2020 Jul 21.

Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Unilateral coronal craniosynostosis (UCS) affects many infants resulting in abnormalities affecting the forehead and orbits. As a result, the deformity caused by UCS is very noticeable and there are several surgical treatment options available to normalize the head shape. However, there is a lack of consistently used outcome measures, resulting in difficulty assessing surgical outcomes and on-going debate over optimal treatments. Current techniques to quantify deformity in UCS are cumbersome, provide limited information, or are based on subjective assessments. In this study, a cranial deformity index was developed to quantify abnormality at the frontal bones for UCS that is accessible, user-friendly, and generates objective surface distance measurements. The cranial deformity index is defined as the Euclidean distance at the point of the largest deviation between the deformed skull compared to a reference skull. In addition, the index was successfully used to quantify post-operative changes in a single case of UCS that underwent corrective surgery. The reproducibility of the index was assessed using test-retest reliability and was demonstrated to be highly reproducible (ICC = 0.93). A user-friendly measurement index that is based on open-source software may be a valuable tool for surgical teams. In addition, this information can augment the consultation experience for patients and their families.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10255842.2020.1795143DOI Listing
November 2020

Skeletal Deformity in Patients With Unilateral Coronal Craniosynostosis: Perceptions of the General Public.

Craniomaxillofac Trauma Reconstr 2020 Jun 25;13(2):122-129. Epub 2020 Mar 25.

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Study Design: A two-alternative forced choice design was used to gather perceptual data regarding unicoronal synostosis (UCS).

Objective: Cranial vault remodeling aims at improving the aesthetic appearance of infants with UCS by reshaping the forehead and reducing the potential for psychosocial discrimination. People's perception of craniofacial deformity plays a role in the stigma of deformity. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between objective skull deformity in UCS patients and laypersons' perception of skull normality.

Methods: Forty layperson skull raters were recruited from the general public. Skull raters were asked to categorize 45 infant skull images as normal or abnormal. Twenty-one of the images were UCS skulls, and 24 were normal skulls. Skulls were displayed briefly on a computer to simulate a first impression scenario and generate a perceptual response. A analysis and mixed-effects regression model were used to analyze the response data.

Results: Members of the general public were good at distinguishing between skull groups, (1) = 281.97, < .001. In addition, skull raters' responses were predicted by the severity of deformity in the UCS skulls ( = -0.10, = -2.6, = .010, CI: -0.18, -0.02). A skull with a deformity value of 2.8 mm (CI: 1.8, 4.1) was equally likely to be rated normal or abnormal.

Conclusions: This is the first study to investigate the relationship between objective skull deformity in UCS and public perception. Laypersons were good at distinguishing the difference between normal and UCS skulls, and their perceptions of normality were predicted by the degree of skull deformity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1943387520911873DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7311836PMC
June 2020

Simulation of tissue-prosthesis margin interface by using surface scanning and digital design for auricular prostheses.

J Prosthet Dent 2021 Feb 23;125(2):361-372. Epub 2020 Apr 23.

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada; Research Scientist, Institute for Reconstructive Sciences in Medicine, Edmonton, Canada.

Statement Of Problem: One of the most challenging aspects of auricular prosthesis design and fabrication is ensuring that the prosthesis fits the patient through a range of head and facial movements. Techniques used in conventional prosthetic treatment pathways account for issues of prosthesis fit, but this challenge has not been fully addressed in emerging treatment pathways that use digital technology.

Purpose: The purpose of this clinical study was to develop and evaluate a digital workflow by using surface scan data and incorporating the simulation of tissue movement into the design of auricular prostheses that fit the participant through a range of facial movements. An iterative design process was used to develop a design workflow through a sequential case series of participants with auricular prostheses.

Material And Methods: Scan data were acquired from a case series of 5 participants with existing implant-retained auricular prostheses. An iterative design process was used to digitally design auricular prostheses that fit the participants through a range of jaw and facial movements. The fit, shape, and retention of the digitally designed and conventionally made prostheses were assessed and compared. Design considerations were identified and documented through the iterative design process.

Results: A final design workflow was iteratively developed based on the 5 participants. The shapes of the digitally designed prostheses were well matched to nontreatment anatomy overall. Prosthesis fit was variable: Some digitally designed prostheses fit the participant intimately through a range of movements, and others experienced significant gaps between the margins and the tissues.

Conclusions: An iterative design process provided a method of working toward quality improvement. Although the final design workflow provides a generally successful method of manipulating scan data in the design of auricular prostheses, the prosthesis fit at the anterior margin during facial movements remains variable and requires further development to achieve a consistently acceptable solution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prosdent.2020.01.045DOI Listing
February 2021

Development of a Patient-Centered Functional Outcomes Questionnaire in Head and Neck Cancer.

JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2020 05;146(5):437-443

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

Importance: Incorporation of patient perspectives, or patient-reported outcomes, in functional outcome measures has been gaining prominence in the literature on reconstructive surgery.

Objective: To create and validate an instrument for measuring the main functional areas of concern for patients with head and neck cancer.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This 4-phase mixed-methods qualitative study was conducted from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2016, in a quaternary head and neck oncology center in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Patients were recruited from 3 Head and Neck Research Network sites: University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada), Mount Sinai Health Network (New York, New York), and University of Turku Hospital (Turku, Finland). The inclusion criteria included 18 years of age or older, diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma involving the subsites of the head and neck (ie, oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, and larynx), and at least 1 year since treatment completion. Those patients who were undergoing additional active treatment or with evidence of disease recurrence were excluded. Data were analyzed from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2016.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary outcome measures were the clinical correlation of the Edmonton-33 instrument scores with swallowing, speech, dry mouth, and chewing assessment outcomes.

Results: In total, 10 patients with head and neck cancer (mean age, 59.6 years; 6 men [60%]) were included in phase 1 of the study, 5 patients (mean age, 55.2 years) were included in phase 2, 10 patients were included in phase 3, and 25 patients with head and neck cancer (mean age, 62.6 years; 14 men [56%]) participated in the phase 4 validation. The Edmonton-33 instrument scores correlated strongly with the swallowing scores of the MD Anderson Dysphagia Inventory (r = 0.77; 95% CI, 0.49-1.0), the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Head and Neck 35 (EORTC QLQ-H&N35) (r = -0.73; 95% CI, -1.0 to -0.44), and the modified barium swallow test (r = -0.60; 95% CI, -0.94 to -0.25). The instrument scores were also strongly correlated with the Speech Handicap Index scores (r = -0.64; 95% CI, -0.97 to -0.31), word intelligibility scores (r = 0.61; 95% CI, 0.27-0.95), and sentence intelligibility scores (r = 0.55; 95% CI, 0.19-0.91). A moderate to strong correlation was observed between the Edmonton-33 instrument and the EORTC QLQ-H&N35 scores in the dry mouth (r = -0.54; 95% CI, -0.91 to -0.18) and chewing (r = -0.45; 95% CI, -0.84 to -0.06) domains. The factor loading values for the domains of swallowing, speech, dry mouth, and chewing were all greater than 0.3. The mean factor loading values for the items related to swallowing were 0.71 (95% CI, 0.62-0.80) and for the items related to speech were 0.76 (95% CI, 0.72-0.80). The mean factor loading values for the items related to dry mouth were 0.71 (95% CI, 0.59-0.83) and for those related to chewing were 0.77 (95% CI, 0.69-0.85).

Conclusions And Relevance: The Edmonton-33 appears to be a validated instrument that will allow patients with head and neck cancer to assess and report their own functional outcomes. It could serve as a single comprehensive measure for functional outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoto.2019.4788DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7146527PMC
May 2020

Contributions of Voice and Nonverbal Communication to Perceived Masculinity-Femininity for Cisgender and Transgender Communicators.

J Speech Lang Hear Res 2020 04 20;63(4):931-947. Epub 2020 Mar 20.

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Purpose The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to identify a set of communication-based predictors (including both acoustic and gestural variables) of masculinity-femininity ratings and (b) to explore differences in ratings between audio and audiovisual presentation modes for transgender and cisgender communicators. Method The voices and gestures of a group of cisgender men and women ( = 10 of each) and transgender women ( = 20) communicators were recorded while they recounted the story of a cartoon using acoustic and motion capture recording systems. A total of 17 acoustic and gestural variables were measured from these recordings. A group of observers ( = 20) rated each communicator's masculinity-femininity based on 30- to 45-s samples of the cartoon description presented in three modes: audio, visual, and audio visual. Visual and audiovisual stimuli contained point light displays standardized for size. Ratings were made using a direct magnitude estimation scale without modulus. Communication-based predictors of masculinity-femininity ratings were identified using multiple regression, and analysis of variance was used to determine the effect of presentation mode on perceptual ratings. Results Fundamental frequency, average vowel formant, and sound pressure level were identified as significant predictors of masculinity-femininity ratings for these communicators. Communicators were rated significantly more feminine in the audio than the audiovisual mode and unreliably in the visual-only mode. Conclusions Both study purposes were met. Results support continued emphasis on fundamental frequency and vocal tract resonance in voice and communication modification training with transgender individuals and provide evidence for the potential benefit of modifying sound pressure level, especially when a masculine presentation is desired.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1044/2019_JSLHR-19-00387DOI Listing
April 2020

Evaluation of word recognition and word recall with bone conduction devices: do directional microphones free up cognitive resources?

Int J Audiol 2020 05 10;59(5):367-373. Epub 2020 Mar 10.

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.

To determine if directional microphones improve cognitive capacity in typically hearing adults. The study objectives are to evaluate differences in (1) speech recognition and (2) working memory through a word recall task between bilateral directional and omnidirectional microphone settings. A conductive hearing loss was artificially induced while participants wore bilateral bone conduction hearing aids on softbands. For each hearing aid setting (bilateral omnidirectional and bilateral directional), seven blocks of seven sentences from the Hearing in Noise Test (HINT) were presented at a signal-to-noise ratio of +2 dB. Participants repeated each sentence aloud and after each block, wrote down as many of the last words as they could recall. Thirty-five typical hearing adults and a subset ( = 20) achieving ≥80% recognition. The directional microphone setting showed significant improvement over the omnidirectional setting for recognition and recall for both the full set of participants and the subset of participants with ≥ 80% recognition. This study demonstrated that features such as directional microphones can improve both speech recognition and working memory. Even in listening situations where participants can understand the majority of speech, directional microphones may offer improvements to cognitive capacity and reduce listening effort.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14992027.2019.1708983DOI Listing
May 2020

Use of Patient-Specific Finite Element Models in Dental Rehabilitation to Investigate Stresses of a Fibula Free Flap for Mandibular Reconstruction.

Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 2019 May/June;34(3):e21–e31. Epub 2019 Feb 19.

Purpose: This study investigated the effect of implant length, diameter, and surface contact on the stresses developed in a fibular free flap.

Materials And Methods: Finite element (FE) models for dental implants placed in a patient-specific fibula were created using a patient-specific fibula CT scan and geometry files of commercially available dental implants. The FE models involved nine dental implants of different lengths and diameters: 3.5, 4.3, and 5.0 mm in diameter and 10.0, 11.5, and 13.0 mm in length. Three contact conditions between the implant and the fibular flap were investigated: complete fusion, friction, and smooth contact, representing complete osseointegration, a rough implant-bone interface, and no osseointegration, respectively. Finite element analysis was performed to examine the average von Mises stresses around the local implant-fibula interface within the fibula under a load of 500 N along the long axis of the implant and posterior-anterior and lateral-medial directions.

Results: Both the level of osseointegration and implant size had noticeable effects on the mechanical stress inside the fibula. The stress introduced to the fibula gradually decreased as the implant osseointegrated into the bone. An optimal implant size existed where the internal stresses were minimized; this trend was seen when investigating both the implant diameter and length. In this study, an implant with a diameter of 4.3 mm and length of 10 mm produced the lowest mechanical stresses overall.

Conclusion: Both implant length and diameter were influential; stresses were seen to decrease to a minimum then subsequently increase as either dimension increased. Additionally, stresses in bone introduced by an implant decreased as the degree of interaction between the implant and fibula increased. Complete fusion between the implant and bone yielded the lowest stresses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11607/jomi.6608DOI Listing
December 2019

The association between a mixing ability test and patient reported chewing ability in patients treated for oral malignancies.

J Oral Rehabil 2019 Feb 1;46(2):140-150. Epub 2018 Nov 1.

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Special Dental Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, University Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Introduction: Mastication has been assessed in several ways in the past. Both patients reported and objective assessment methods have been developed. The University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht has developed a mixing ability test (MAT) using a two-coloured wax tablet. The present study investigates the association between the mixing ability test and a chewing related questionnaire in patients treated for oral malignancies.

Patients And Methods: In a cohort study, patients treated for oral malignancies were assessed 4-6 weeks before and 4-6 weeks after treatment, as well as 6 months, 1 year and 5 years after treatment. The mixing ability test was assessed using 10 and 20 chewing strokes and was compared to seven questions about several aspects of mastication. Regression analysis was performed and density plots were drawn for statistical analysis.

Results: One hundred and twenty-three patients were included in this study. The questionnaire was less predictive for the 10-chewing stroke test and the test was less discriminatory for different food types than the 20-chewing stroke mixing ability test. Three questions about the ability to chew solid, soft and thickened liquid food types were found to be significantly predictive for the 20-chewing stroke test. Threshold values on the mixing ability index were around 20 for the ability to chew solid food types and 24 for soft food types.

Conclusion: The 10-chewing stroke mixing ability test is less suitable than 20-chewing strokes for patients with and treated for oral cancer. The 20-chewing stroke mixing ability test has a fair association with self-reported outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/joor.12734DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7379969PMC
February 2019

Changing Hearing Performance and Sound Preference With Words and Expectations: Meaning Responses in Audiology.

Ear Hear 2019 May/Jun;40(3):615-620

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Objectives: In this article, we explore two manipulations of "meaning response," intended to either "impart" meaning to participants through the manipulation of a few words in the test instructions or to "invite" meaning by making the participant feel involved in the setting of their preferred sound.

Design: In experiment 1, 59 adults with normal hearing were randomly assigned to one of the two groups. Group 1 was told "this hearing in noise test (HINT) you are about to do is really hard," while the second group was told "this HINT test is really easy." In experiment 2, 59 normal-hearing adults were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Every participant was played a highly distorted sound file and given 5 mystery sliders on a computer to move as often and as much as they wished until the sound was "best" to them. They were then told we applied their settings to a new file and they needed to rate their sound settings on this new file against either (1) another participant in the study, or (2) an expert audiologist. In fact, we played them the same sound file twice.

Results: In experiment 1, those who were told the test was hard performed significantly better than the easy group. In experiment 2, a significant preference was found in the group when comparing "my setting" to "another participant." No significant difference was found in the group comparing "my setting" to the "expert."

Conclusions: Imparting or inviting meaning into the context of audiological outcome measurement can alter outcomes even in the absence of any additional technology or treatment. These findings lend support to a growing body of research about the many nonauditory factors including motivation, effort, and task demands that can impact performance in our clinics and laboratories.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/AUD.0000000000000634DOI Listing
December 2019

"To Name or Not to Name: That is the Question": The Role of Response Inhibition in Reading.

J Psycholinguist Res 2018 Oct;47(5):999-1014

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, 2-70, 8205 114St Corbett Hall, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2G4, Canada.

Reading is a complex process that includes the integration of information about letters (graphemes) and sounds (phonemes). In many circumstances, such as noisy environments, response inhibition is an additional factor that plays a marked role in successful oral reading. Response inhibition can take the form of task relevant inhibition (i.e., foils in a go/no-go task) and task irrelevant inhibition (i.e., distractor information). Here we investigated task relevant inhibition by having participants (N = 30) take part in two tasks: go/no-go naming with nonwords foils (GNG-NW) and go/no-go naming with pseudohomophones foils (GNG-PH). Also, we investigated the addition of task irrelevant inhibition by having participants (N = 28) take part in two tasks: GNG-NW + information masking and GNG-PH + information masking. We provide evidence that during a task relevant inhibition task, sub-word sound level information can be successfully inhibited, as evidenced by comparable response times for regular words and exception words, provided the foils do not contain familiar sound-based information (GNG-NW). In contrast, regular words were read aloud faster than exception words in a GNG-PH task, indicating that sub-word level interference occurs when the foils contain familiar sound-based information. The addition of task irrelevant inhibition (i.e., information masking at the phoneme level), served to increase response time overall, but did not impact the pattern of response times between regular words and exception words. Together these findings provide useful information regarding the role of response inhibition in word recognition and may be useful in computational models of word recognition and future work may benefit from accounting for the effects outlined in this paper.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10936-018-9572-9DOI Listing
October 2018

Behavioral and subcortical signatures of musical expertise in Mandarin Chinese speakers.

PLoS One 2018 4;13(1):e0190793. Epub 2018 Jan 4.

Communication Sciences and Disorders, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Both musical training and native language have been shown to have experience-based plastic effects on auditory processing. However, the combined effects within individuals are unclear. Recent research suggests that musical training and tone language speaking are not clearly additive in their effects on processing of auditory features and that there may be a disconnect between perceptual and neural signatures of auditory feature processing. The literature has only recently begun to investigate the effects of musical expertise on basic auditory processing for different linguistic groups. This work provides a profile of primary auditory feature discrimination for Mandarin speaking musicians and nonmusicians. The musicians showed enhanced perceptual discrimination for both frequency and duration as well as enhanced duration discrimination in a multifeature discrimination task, compared to nonmusicians. However, there were no differences between the groups in duration processing of nonspeech sounds at a subcortical level or in subcortical frequency representation of a nonnative tone contour, for fo or for the first or second formant region. The results indicate that musical expertise provides a cognitive, but not subcortical, advantage in a population of Mandarin speakers.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0190793PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5754139PMC
February 2018

Evaluation of an Automated Swallow-Detection Algorithm Using Visual Biofeedback in Healthy Adults and Head and Neck Cancer Survivors.

Dysphagia 2018 06 2;33(3):345-357. Epub 2017 Nov 2.

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, 8205 114St 2-70 Corbett Hall, Edmonton, AB, T6R 3T5, Canada.

Mobile health (mHealth) technologies may offer an opportunity to address longstanding clinical challenges, such as access and adherence to swallowing therapy. Mobili-T is an mHealth device that uses surface electromyography (sEMG) to provide biofeedback on submental muscles activity during exercise. An automated swallow-detection algorithm was developed for Mobili-T. This study evaluated the performance of the swallow-detection algorithm. Ten healthy participants and 10 head and neck cancer (HNC) patients were fitted with the device. Signal was acquired during regular, effortful, and Mendelsohn maneuver saliva swallows, as well as lip presses, tongue, and head movements. Signals of interest were tagged during data acquisition and used to evaluate algorithm performance. Sensitivity and positive predictive values (PPV) were calculated for each participant. Saliva swallows were compared between HNC and controls in the four sEMG-based parameters used in the algorithm: duration, peak amplitude ratio, median frequency, and 15th percentile of the power spectrum density. In healthy participants, sensitivity and PPV were 92.3 and 83.9%, respectively. In HNC patients, sensitivity was 92.7% and PPV was 72.2%. In saliva swallows, HNC patients had longer event durations (U = 1925.5, p < 0.001), lower median frequency (U = 2674.0, p < 0.001), and lower 15th percentile of the power spectrum density [t(176.9) = 2.07, p < 0.001] than healthy participants. The automated swallow-detection algorithm performed well with healthy participants and retained a high sensitivity, but had lowered PPV with HNC patients. With respect to Mobili-T, the algorithm will next be evaluated using the mHealth system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00455-017-9859-2DOI Listing
June 2018

The influence of fundamental frequency on perceived duration in spectrally comparable sounds.

PeerJ 2017 1;5:e3734. Epub 2017 Sep 1.

Department of Modern Languages, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

The perceived duration of a sound is affected by its fundamental frequency and intensity: higher sounds are judged to be longer, as are sounds with greater intensity. Since increasing intensity lengthens the perceived duration of the auditory object, and increasing the fundamental frequency increases the sound's perceived loudness (up to ca. 3 kHz), frequency modulation of duration could be potentially explained by a confounding effect where the primary cause of the modulation would be variations in intensity. Here, a series of experiments are described that were designed to disentangle the contributions of fundamental frequency, intensity, and duration to perceived loudness and duration. In two forced-choice tasks, participants judged duration and intensity differences between two sounds varying simultaneously in intensity, fundamental frequency, fundamental frequency gliding range, and duration. The results suggest that fundamental frequency and intensity each have an impact on duration judgments, while frequency gliding range did not influence the present results. We also demonstrate that the modulation of perceived duration by sound fundamental frequency cannot be fully explained by the confounding relationship between frequency and intensity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.3734DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5582609PMC
September 2017

Functional and quality of life outcomes after partial glossectomy: a multi-institutional longitudinal study of the head and neck research network.

J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2017 Sep 4;46(1):56. Epub 2017 Sep 4.

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.

Background: While aggressive treatment for oral cancer may optimize survival, decrements in speech and swallowing function and quality of life often result. This exploratory study investigated how patients recover their communicative function, swallowing ability, and quality of life after primary surgery [with or without adjuvant (chemo)radiation therapy] for tongue cancer over the course of the first year post-operation.

Methods: Patients treated for oral cancer at three institutions (University of Alberta Hospital, Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center, and Turku University Hospital) were administered patient-reported outcomes assessing speech [Speech Handicap Index (SHI)], swallowing [(M.D. Anderson Dysphagia Inventory (MDADI)] and quality of life [European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Head and Neck Module (EORTC-H&N35)]. Outcome measures were completed pre-operatively and at 1-, 6-, and 12-months post-operatively.

Results: One hundred and seventeen patients undergoing partial glossectomy with reconstruction participated in this study. Results indicated no significant differences in swallowing function (MDADI and EORTC-H&N35 subscales) between baseline and 6 months post-surgery and no significant differences in speech function (SHI subscales) between baseline and 1 year post-surgery. Most quality of life domains (EORTC-H&N35 subscales) returned to baseline levels by 1 year post-operation, while difficulties with dry mouth and sticky saliva persisted. A clear time trend of adjuvant (chemo)radiation therapy negatively affecting dry mouth scores over time was identified in this study, while negative independent effects of chemoradiation on MDADI swallowing, and EORTC-H&N35 swallowing, eating, and opening mouth subscales were found.

Conclusions: Assessment time influenced patient-reported speech, swallowing, and quality of life outcomes, while treatment (by time) effects were found for only swallowing and quality of life outcomes. Results of the present study will help guide clinical care and will be useful for patient counseling on expected short and long-term functional and quality of life outcomes of surgical and adjuvant treatment for oral cavity cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40463-017-0234-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5583999PMC
September 2017

Musical Sophistication and the Effect of Complexity on Auditory Discrimination in Finnish Speakers.

Front Neurosci 2017 13;11:213. Epub 2017 Apr 13.

Cognitive Brain Research Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of HelsinkiHelsinki, Finland.

Musical experiences and native language are both known to affect auditory processing. The present work aims to disentangle the influences of native language phonology and musicality on behavioral and subcortical sound feature processing in a population of musically diverse Finnish speakers as well as to investigate the specificity of enhancement from musical training. Finnish speakers are highly sensitive to duration cues since in Finnish, vowel and consonant duration determine word meaning. Using a correlational approach with a set of behavioral sound feature discrimination tasks, brainstem recordings, and a musical sophistication questionnaire, we find no evidence for an association between musical sophistication and more precise duration processing in Finnish speakers either in the auditory brainstem response or in behavioral tasks, but they do show an enhanced pitch discrimination compared to Finnish speakers with less musical experience and show greater duration modulation in a complex task. These results are consistent with a ceiling effect set for certain sound features which corresponds to the phonology of the native language, leaving an opportunity for music experience-based enhancement of sound features not explicitly encoded in the language (such as pitch, which is not explicitly encoded in Finnish). Finally, the pattern of duration modulation in more musically sophisticated Finnish speakers suggests integrated feature processing for greater efficiency in a real world musical situation. These results have implications for research into the specificity of plasticity in the auditory system as well as to the effects of interaction of specific language features with musical experiences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2017.00213DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5390041PMC
April 2017

Quantity language speakers show enhanced subcortical processing.

Biol Psychol 2016 07 11;118:169-175. Epub 2016 Jun 11.

Phonetics and Speech Synthesis Research Group, Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland.

The complex auditory brainstem response (cABR) can reflect language-based plasticity in subcortical stages of auditory processing. It is sensitive to differences between language groups as well as stimulus properties, e.g. intensity or frequency. It is also sensitive to the synchronicity of the neural population stimulated by sound, which results in increased amplitude of wave V. Finnish is a full-fledged quantity language, in which word meaning is dependent upon duration of the vowels and consonants. Previous studies have shown that Finnish speakers have enhanced behavioural sound duration discrimination ability and larger cortical mismatch negativity (MMN) to duration change compared to German and French speakers. The next step is to find out whether these enhanced duration discrimination abilities of quantity language speakers originate at the brainstem level. Since German has a complementary quantity contrast which restricts the possible patterns of short and long vowels and consonants, the current experiment compared cABR between nonmusician Finnish and German native speakers using seven short complex stimuli. Finnish speakers had a larger cABR peak amplitude than German speakers, while the peak onset latency was only affected by stimulus intensity and spectral band. The results suggest that early cABR responses are better synchronised for Finns, which could underpin the enhanced duration sensitivity of quantity language speakers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.06.003DOI Listing
July 2016

Real-time correlates of phonological quantity reveal unity of tonal and non-tonal languages.

PLoS One 2010 Sep 8;5(9):e12603. Epub 2010 Sep 8.

Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Discrete phonological phenomena form our conscious experience of language: continuous changes in pitch appear as distinct tones to the speakers of tone languages, whereas the speakers of quantity languages experience duration categorically. The categorical nature of our linguistic experience is directly reflected in the traditionally clear-cut linguistic classification of languages into tonal or non-tonal. However, some evidence suggests that duration and pitch are fundamentally interconnected and co-vary in signaling word meaning in non-tonal languages as well. We show that pitch information affects real-time language processing in a (non-tonal) quantity language. The results suggest that there is no unidirectional causal link from a genetically-based perceptual sensitivity towards pitch information to the appearance of a tone language. They further suggest that the contrastive categories tone and quantity may be based on simultaneously co-varying properties of the speech signal and the processing system, even though the conscious experience of the speakers may highlight only one discrete variable at a time.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0012603PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2935883PMC
September 2010

Phonetic tone signals phonological quantity and word structure.

J Acoust Soc Am 2010 Sep;128(3):1313-21

Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Phonetics and Speech Synthesis Research Group, University of Helsinki, PO Box 9, Helsinki FI-00014, Finland.

Many languages exploit suprasegmental devices in signaling word meaning. Tone languages exploit fundamental frequency whereas quantity languages rely on segmental durations to distinguish otherwise similar words. Traditionally, duration and tone have been taken as mutually exclusive. However, some evidence suggests that, in addition to durational cues, phonological quantity is associated with and co-signaled by changes in fundamental frequency in quantity languages such as Finnish, Estonian, and Serbo-Croat. The results from the present experiment show that the structure of disyllabic word stems in Finnish are indeed signaled tonally and that the phonological length of the stressed syllable is further tonally distinguished within the disyllabic sequence. The results further indicate that the observed association of tone and duration in perception is systematically exploited in speech production in Finnish.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3467767DOI Listing
September 2010
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