Sequence Heterogeneity in Parkinsonian Speech Academic Article uri icon


  • Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative movement disorder primarily due to basal ganglia dysfunction. While much research has been conducted on Parkinsonian deficits in the traditional arena of musculoskeletal limb movement, research in other functional motor tasks is lacking. The present study examined articulation in PD with increasingly complex sequences of articulatory movement. Of interest was whether dysfunction would affect articulation in the same manner as in limb-movement impairment. In particular, since very similar (homogeneous) articulatory sequences (the tongue twister effect) are more difficult for healthy individuals to achieve than dissimilar (heterogeneous) gestures, while the reverse may apply for skeletal movements in PD, we asked which factor would dominate when PD patients articulated various grades of artificial tongue twisters: the influence of disease or a possible difference between the two motor systems. Execution was especially impaired when articulation involved a sequence of motor program heterogeneous in terms of place of articulation. The results are suggestive of a hypokinesic tendency in complex sequential articulatory movement as in limb movement. It appears that PD patients do show abnormalities in articulatory movement which are similar to those of the musculoskeletal system. The present study suggests that an underlying disease effect modulates movement impairment across different functional motor systems.


  • Ho, Aileen K
  • Bradshaw, John L
  • Cunnington, Ross
  • Phillips, Jim G
  • Iansek, Robert

publication date

  • August 1998