Speech therapy trial for PD, led by the University of Nottingham, shows improved outcomes

The University of Nottingham in the UK has announced that a recent clinical trial has demonstrated the effectiveness of a specific speech therapy, Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT LOUD), for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Led by the university, the study indicates that LSVT LOUD significantly reduces the impact of voice problems in PD patients compared to no therapy and standard NHS treatment.

The trial, a collaboration between the universities of Nottingham and Birmingham, as well as other institutions, was carried out in 40 NHS sites in the UK.

It was coordinated by the Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit (BCTU) at the University of Birmingham.

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment program, the study recruited 388 participants with PD and dysarthria, who were randomly assigned to three groups.

One group underwent the LSVT LOUD therapy, another received NHS speech and language therapy and the third group received no therapy.

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The LSVT LOUD therapy, which requires 16 sessions over four weeks, involves training patients to use a normal volume level when speaking.

In contrast, NHS therapy is less intensive, personalized and usually delivered over six to eight sessions.

The results of the trial, which ran from September 2016 to March 2020, showed that LSVT LOUD was more effective than the other two methods in reducing the impact of dysarthria.

Notably, the NHS therapy did not show any significant benefits compared to receiving no therapy at all.

Professor Catherine Sackley of the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, School of Health Sciences, said: “The consequences of speech and communication problems in people with PD can make them feel stigmatised. It can stop them going out, socializing and prevent them from doing daily tasks such as shopping, which can have a detrimental impact on their quality of life.

“This is the first study of its kind to look at the most effective treatment options. The results clearly show that the LSVT LOUD method, delivered in this way, is both effective and can be cost-effective.

“The NHS approach as it is currently delivered is not effective. Now we have this data, we need to look at other factors and whether different therapies are delivered in different ways, which would further influence outcomes.”

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