Impact of typical aging and Parkinson's disease on the relationship among breath pausing, syntax, and punctuation

Jessica E. Huber, Meghan Darling, Elaine J. Francis, Dabao Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The present study examines the impact of typical aging and Parkinson's disease (PD) on the relationship among breath pausing, syntax, and punctuation. Method: Thirty young adults, 25 typically aging older adults, and 15 individuals with PD participated. Fifteen participants were age-and sex-matched to the individuals with PD. Participants read a passage aloud 2 times. Utterance length, location of breath pauses relative to punctuation and syntax, and number of disfluencies and mazes were measured. Results: Older adults produced shorter utterances, a smaller percentage of breaths at major boundaries, and a greater percentage of breaths at minor boundaries than did young adults, but there was no significant difference between older adults and individuals with PD on these measures. Individuals with PD took a greater percentage of breaths at locations unrelated to a syntactic boundary than did control participants. Individuals with PD produced more mazes than did control participants. Breaths were significantly correlated with punctuation for all groups. Conclusions: Changes in breath-pausing patterns in older adults are likely due to changes in respiratory physiology. However, in individuals with PD, such changes appear to result from a combination of changes to respiratory physiology and cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-379
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Speech breathing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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