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University of Nottingham-led speech therapy trial for PD shows improved outcomes

University of Nottingham-led speech therapy trial for PD shows improved outcomes

The University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom has announced that a recent clinical trial has demonstrated the effectiveness of a specific speech therapy, Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT LOUD), for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Led by the university, the study indicates that LSVT LOUD significantly reduces the impact of voice problems in PD patients compared with no therapy and standard NHS treatment.

The trial, a collaborative effort between the universities of Nottingham and Birmingham as well as other institutions, was conducted across 40 NHS sites across the UK.

It was coordinated by the Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit (BCTU) at the University of Birmingham.

Funded by the Health Technology Assessment program of the National Institute for Health Research, the study recruited 388 participants with PD and dysarthria, who were randomly divided into three groups.

One group received LSVT LOUD therapy, another received NHS speech and language treatment and the third group received no therapy.

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LSVT LOUD therapy, which requires 16 sessions over four weeks, involves training patients to use a normal volume level when speaking.

In contrast, NHS therapy is less intensive, personalised and typically delivered over six to eight sessions.

The results of the study, which spanned September 2016 to March 2020, showed that LSVT LOUD was more effective than the other two approaches in reducing the impact of dysarthria.

Notably, NHS therapy showed no significant benefit over no therapy.

Professor Catherine Sackley from the School of Health Sciences at the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre said: “The impact of speech and communication problems on people with PD can make them feel stigmatised. It can stop them going out, stop them socialising and stop them doing everyday tasks such as shopping, which can have a detrimental impact on their quality of life.

“This is the first study of its kind to look at the most effective treatment options. The results clearly show that, administered in this way, the LSVT LOUD method is effective and can be cost-effective.

“The NHS method as it is currently delivered is not effective. Now that we have this data, we need to look at other factors and whether different therapies are delivered in different ways, which would further impact outcomes.”