Supplementary Material for: Changes in White Matter Integrity following Intensive Voice Treatment (LSVT LOUD®) in Children with Cerebral Palsy and Motor Speech Disorders

<p>Preliminary evidence suggests that intensive voice and speech treatment based on activity-dependent neuroplasticity principles holds promise for affecting positive change in children with cerebral palsy (CP) and motor speech disorders. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) allows researchers to make inferences about the integrity of white matter tracks and provides a sensitive measure of neuroplasticity. Previous treatment studies looking at the effects of training on white matter integrity have shown positive results, but these studies have been limited to gross motor function. Eight children with motor speech disorders and CP (3 females; age 8-16 years) and an age- and sex-matched group of typically developing (TD) children participated. Each child with CP completed a full dose of LSVT LOUD® and a 12-week maintenance program. Participants attended 3 recording sessions: before and after treatment, and after the maintenance period. TD children were tested at the same 3 time points. Recording sessions for both groups of children included measures of white matter integrity using DTI and acoustic measures of voice and speech. Fractional anisotropy (FA) was measured for 2 motor tracts and 5 association tracts. In children with CP, we observed an increase in FA in several motor and association tracts immediately following treatment and 12 weeks after treatment. Acoustic data on untrained tasks were correlated with changes in FA detected immediately following treatment and after the 12-week maintenance program. These findings suggest that long-term practice of skills attained during the treatment phase enhances white matter tract integrity in speech production networks.</p>