Emily is from Jacksonville, FL and she is pursing a Bachelor’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Communication Studies. She plans to pursue her Masters in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Florida as well. Emily has interests in augmentative and alternative communication, dysphagia in individuals with neurodegenerative diseases, and working within an acute care hospital setting. Emily wants to give a special thank you to all members of the Upper Airway Dysfunction Lab for allowing her to step foot in the world of research; Especially her mentor, Dr. Karen W. Hegland.
Differences in Respiratory Sensation Between Males and Females with Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
Michelle Slepian, M.A., CCC-SLP
PI: Karen W. Hegland, Ph.D. CCC-SLP
Introduction: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder associated with a number of sensory and motor abnormalities in addition to cough and swallow dysfunction. Motor and nonmotor features of PD such as tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity, and cognitive impairments have been shown to affect males and females differently. Additionally, people with PD exhibit reduced sensitivity to airway stimuli. It is unclear whether there are sex-based differences in airway sensation, and whether that may contribute to the higher likelihood of males or females developing dysphagia. The goal of this study was to determine if there are differences in respiratory sensation between males and females with PD compared to age-matched health controls. It was hypothesized that females will show a greater reduction of respiratory sensation compared to males with PD and that individuals with PD will not exhibit significant reduction in sensory gating compared to healthy age-matched controls.
Methods: Sensory evoked potentials were obtained through occlusion during the inspiratory phrase of respiration and recorded via an electroencephalogram (EEG). The average amplitudes and latencies for P1, P2, N1, and N2 component peaks were examined in NetStation Review though the observation of positive or negative areas on the EEG scalp topography. Amplitude and latency in PD participants were compared to age matched healthy controls to determine differences in respiratory sensation.
Results: 4 males with PD, 4 females with PD, 4 healthy older males (HOM) and 4 health older females (HOF) participated in the study. Median amplitude and latency values were used to analyze differences between PD and healthy older adult participants. Median values were used for analysis of statistical significance due to the small sample size (n=16). The Median Tests for k samples demonstrated statistically significant differences for the N1 component peak in males with PD compared to other groups. There were no statistically significant differences of latency between the 4 groups. Trends suggest overall male and female differences in respiratory sensation rather than PD and healthy older adult (HOA) differences.
Conclusion: Although statistically significant differences were not observed between PD groups and gender matched HOA due to a small sample size, trends suggest greater differences in respiratory sensation between males (both PD and HOM) and females (both PD and HOF). Additionally, there was a trend in the PD groups for decreased amplitude and latency values, which is consistent with previous findings. A larger sample size is needed draw definitive conclusions and obtain statistically significant results.