Cortical silent period reveals differences between adductor spasmodic dysphonia and muscle tension dysphonia

Sharyl Samargia, Rebekah Schmidt, Teresa J Kimberley, PT,

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background. The pathophysiology of adductor spasmodic dysphonia (AdSD), like other focal dystonias, is largely unknown. Objective. The purposes of this study were to determine (a) cortical excitability differences between AdSD, muscle tension dysphonia (MTD), and healthy controls; (b) distribution of potential differences in cranial or skeletal muscle; and (c) if cortical excitability measures assist in the differential diagnosis of AdSD and MTD. Methods. Ten participants with adductor spasmodic dysphonia, 8 with muscle tension dysphonia, and 10 healthy controls received single and paired pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the primary motor cortex contralateral to tested muscles, first dorsal interosseus (FDI), and masseter. We tested the hypothesis that cortical excitability measures in AdSD would be significantly different from those in MTD and healthy controls. In addition, we hypothesized that there would be a correlation between cortical excitability measures and clinical voice severity in AdSD. Results. Cortical silent period duration in masseter and FDI was significantly shorter in AdSD than MTD and healthy controls. Other measures failed to demonstrate differences. Conclusion. There are differences in cortical excitability between AdSD, MTD, and healthy controls. These differences in the cortical measure of both the FDI and masseter muscles in AdSD suggest widespread dysfunction of the GABAB mechanism may be a pathophysiologic feature of AdSD, similar to other forms of focal dystonia. Further exploration of the use of TMS to assist in the differential diagnosis of AdSD and MTD is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-232
Number of pages12
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the efforts of George "Shep" Goding, MD, Deirdre Michael, PhD, CCC-SLP, and Lisa Butcher, MS, CCC-SLP. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Research reported in this publication was partially supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Science of the National Institutes of Health Award Number UL1TR000114 and The American Association of University Women.

Publisher Copyright:
© American Society of Neurorehabilitation.

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • adductor spasmodic dysphonia
  • cortical silent period
  • muscle tension dysphonia
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation


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