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Differential Diagnosis of Persistent Speech Sound Disorders Using Dynamic Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Vocal Tract

Grant number: 15/20814-8
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: September 01, 2016 - February 28, 2019
Field of knowledge:Interdisciplinary Subjects
Principal Investigator:Marcel Parolin Jackowski
Grantee:Marcel Parolin Jackowski
Host Institution: Instituto de Matemática e Estatística (IME). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Andrea Parolin Jackowski ; Choukri Mekkaoui ; Clara Regina Brandão de Avila ; Ricardo Gutierrez-Osuna


Children with residual or persistent speech sound disorder (SSD) exhibit difficulties in producing speech well beyond the expected age for full acquisition of the phonological rules for a given language. Children with SSDs also suffer from social communication problems and literacy delays, leading to reading and writing deficits. SSDs encompass a wide diversity of speech errors, associated or derived from phonological motor alterations or vocal alterations. Because several of these alterations can be observed across different speech disorders, it is crucial to develop methodologies to aid in the differential diagnosis of SSDs so that correct treatments can be prescribed. A promising diagnostics approach, which has only recently became possible, is to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to observe the hidden articulatory processes during speech production in real time. The main goal of this project is to employ dynamic MRI of the vocal tract to differentiate children with apraxia of speech from children with other speech disorders based on articulatory alterations. We propose to develop methodologies to identify articulatory patterns from MR images of the vocal tract and correlate them with results from speech input/output evaluations. This work has the potential to make a conceptual leap in the differential diagnosis of SSDs by integrating dynamic MRI and advanced image analysis methods into conventional speech and hearing assessments. This project is an international partnership between USP, UNIFESP, TAMU and the MGH, uniting experts from speech and hearing, speech processing, image acquisition, and medical imaging analysis fields. The product of this joint effort will enable adequate management and rehabilitation of children with oral communication deficits, thereby reducing associated health care and education costs. (AU)

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