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March 1991

Heterogeneity in Spasmodic DysphoniaNeurologic and Voice Findings

Arch Neurol. 1991;48(3):305-309. doi:10.1001/archneur.1991.00530150075021

• Spasmodic dysphonia is a disturbance of phonation with laryngeal spasms. We report voice and neurologic examination findings in 45 subjects. Neurologic abnormalities were found in 32 subjects (71.1%). Rapid alternating movement abnormalities, weakness, and tremor were common. Incoordination and spasticity were rare. Lower extremity findings were frequent. Abnormalities were bilateral. Spasmodic dysphonia severity was related to age. Type, severity, and duration of vocal symptoms were not different for subjects with or without neurologic abnormalities. Vocal tremor was more frequent in neurologically abnormal subjects. Involvement of a pallidothalamic—supplementary motor area system could account for neurologic findings, brain imaging findings, and clinical heterogeneity. The view emerging is that spasmodic dysphonia is a manifestation of disordered motor control involving systems of neurons rather than single anatomical sites.