Communication impairment in Parkinson’s disease
Communication impairment is common in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and may have both motor speech control and cognitive-linguistic underpinnings. The neurobiology of communication impairment in PD is poorly understood, and work is needed to disentangle the relative contributions of motor and cognitive dysfunction. In clinical practice, cognitive-linguistic impairments are often overlooked despite the large body of research on this topic in neurocognitive and linguistics literature.
In this review, we will discuss the roles of motor speech changes, cognitive and linguistic impairment, and other related functions in the communication disabilities of individuals with PD. We will describe the various types of communication difficulties in PD and tools for measuring these symptoms. We will discuss specific deficits that may further understanding of the neurobiology of communication impairment in PD, including voice and speech acoustic changes, linguistic processing and production difficulties, and pausing. We will emphasize the importance of an interdisciplinary approach and the patient perspective on daily communication in guiding future research.