A longitudinal evaluation of speech rate in primary progressive apraxia of speech

Rene L. Utianski, Peter R. Martin, Holly Hanley, Joseph R. Duffy, Hugo Botha, Heather M. Clark, Jennifer L. Whitwell, Keith A. Josephs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Individuals with primary progressive apraxia of speech (PPAOS) have apraxia of speech (AOS) in which disruptions in articulation or prosody predominate the speech pattern, referred to, respectively, as phonetic or prosodic subtypes. Many develop aphasia and/or dysarthria. Past research has demonstrated that simple temporal acoustic measures are sensitive to the presence of AOS. The aim of this study was to describe the change in temporal acoustic measures over time and assess if specific patterns of AOS or co-occurring aphasia or dysarthria impact the rate of change over time. Method: Durations for multiple productions of the words cat, catnip, catapult, andcatastrophe, in an imitative speech task, were recorded for 73 patients, with two to six visits each. A linear mixed-effects model was used to assess the cross-sectional differences and longitudinal influence of AOS subtype and presence of aphasia/dysarthria on speech rate. Pearson correlations were calculated between rate measures and performance on other clinical measures. Results: Cross-sectionally, patients with prosodic-predominant PPAOS produced words more slowly than those with phonetic-predominant PPAOS. Patients with either aphasia or dysarthria produced words more slowly than those without. Longitudinally, the speech rate of patients with phonetic-predominant PPAOS had a reduction of 0.5 syllables per second per year. Patients with prosodic-predominant AOS changed less quickly, as did those who developed aphasia. Dysarthria did not impact rate of change. There were strong associations between speech rate measures and other clinical indices of speech and language functioning. Conclusion: Simple temporal acoustic measures may reflect the subtype of AOS (phonetic or prosodic predominant), serve as an index of progression of AOS, and inform prognostication relative to the presenting combination of speech and language features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392-404
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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