Direction-Specific Jaw Dysfunction and Its Impact on Tongue Movement in Individuals With Dysarthria Secondary to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Jimin Lee, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Antje Mefferd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose The current study tested jaw movement characteristics and their impact on tongue movement for speech production in individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Specifically, the study examined tongue and jaw movement in multiple directions during jaw opening and closing strokes in individuals with ALS and controls. Method Twenty-two individuals with ALS and 22 controls participated in the current study. Tongue and jaw movements during the production of the words "Iowa" and "Ohio" (produced in a carrier phrase) were recorded using electromagnetic articulography. Tongue and jaw distances were measured for jaw opening and closing strokes. Distance was measured in the anterior-posterior and superior-inferior dimensions (retraction, advancement, lowering, and raising). Results Findings revealed that individuals with ALS exaggerated their jaw opening movements, but not their jaw closing movements, compared to controls. Between the groups, a comparable tongue lowering distance was observed during jaw opening movements. In contrast, reduced tongue raising was observed during the jaw closing movements in individuals with ALS compared to controls. Conclusion The findings suggest that individuals with ALS produce excessive jaw opening movements in the absence of excessive jaw closing movements. The lack of excessive jaw closing movements results in reduced tongue raising in these individuals. Excessive jaw opening movements alone suggest a direction-specific jaw dysfunction. Future studies should examine whether excessive jaw raising can be facilitated and if it enhances tongue raising movement for speech production in individuals with dysarthria secondary to ALS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-508
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 26 2020


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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