Nasometric Scores in spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy - Effects of palatal lift prosthesis on dysarthria and dysphagia

Published:October 15, 2019DOI:


      • Nasalance score reflects bulbar dysfunction in spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy.
      • A palatal lift prosthesis improves dysarthria resulting from velopharyngeal dysfunction.
      • Dysphagia may be deteriorated by applying a palatal lift prosthesis.


      Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is a hereditary neuromuscular disease affecting only males characterized by progressive muscular atrophy and weakness in bulbar and limb muscles. The present study aimed to evaluate the features of velopharyngeal dysfunction (VPD) in SBMA subjects by an acoustic analysis of speech. Twenty-three genetically confirmed patients with SBMA were enrolled and assessed their speech by measuring the nasalance score with a Nasometer II. The nasalance scores of the SBMA group was higher than that of healthy controls (p = .035) and significantly correlated with the total score of the revised amyotrophic lateral sclerosis functional rating scale (rs = −0.520, p = .011). On the basis of the results of the VPD study, the efficacy of a palatal lift prosthesis (PLP) was assessed in two patients with SBMA to treat their VPD. The PLP improved dysarthria in both cases, although the impact of the prosthesis on dysphagia was not consistent. The present study suggested that the nasalance score is a useful quantitative measurement to evaluate VPD in patients with SBMA. A PLP may improve dysarthria in SBMA patients by reducing VPD, but the clinical application of this procedure should be considered carefully in view of its possible negative effect on dysphagia.


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