Friday, October 27, 2006

Spasmodic Dysphonia

I just wanted to take a few moments to comment on the recent Yahoo article that has been posted about the creator of Dilbert (my favorite comic strip), Scott Adams. (If you have the time, I urge you to read the short article on Yahoo or Scott's actual words on his October 24 Dilbert blog post.)

He has been diagnosed with Spasmodic Dysphonia, a rare condition that is absolutely baffling to me. As I understand it, the condition is caused by spasms of the vocal cords which cause interruptions in speech or diminished speech quality. (Specifically, it may cause jerky, quivery, hoarse, tight, or groaning voice. Periods of no sound (aphonia) in the voice may also occur.)

The most fascinating part? Symptoms sometimes improve or disappear when an individual does the following:

  • speaks in a high-pitched, falsetto voice
  • sings
  • whispers
  • speaks in rhyme
  • receives small botox injections within the affected portions of the larynx

  • For more information, please refer to the NSDA (National Spadmodic Dysphonia Association) or the NIDCD (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders) web sites.

    (Maybe our good friend Liz, the speech pathologist, can chime in with more information.)


    Elizabeth said...

    I have never heard of anything like that before. The speaking in rhymes part is especially interesting - does that really impact voice quality? Perhaps we should begin speaking in rhyme, so we can ward off this condition in time... :)
    Oh this isn't related, but how do you get the links window to be displayed?

    Laurie said...

    I just read on the 'net yesterday that he has been cured! He says he's not sure if it's permanent or not right now.

    From the AP Wire By RACHEL KONRAD:
    "Dilbert" cartoonist Scott Adams says he recovered less than a week ago from just such an affliction.

    He decided to recite nursery rhymes every night in hopes of "re-mapping" his brain.

    Last weekend, Adams was chanting "Jack Be Nimble" for the umpteenth time when it dawned on him: He wasn't having a stitch of difficulty.

    He's been talking ever since - albeit with a raspy, tinny voice that sounds as if he's still recovering from the flu.

    Sandy-san said...