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Design of a New Somatosensory Stimulus Delivery Device for Measuring Laryngeal Mechanosensory Detection Thresholds in Humans

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1 Author(s)
Hammer, M.J. ; Dept. of Surg., Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Laryngeal control is essential for airway protection, breathing, deglutition, speech, and voice. Unfortunately, integration of laryngeal sensory assessment in research and clinical practice is limited by technical and practical limitations of commercially available technology. A commercial device is available, but reported limitations include procedural complexity requiring two or three individuals to operate, limited stimulus dynamic range, device generated noise, and questionable stimulus reproducibility. The objective of this study was to design a new laryngeal somatosensory stimulus delivery device that provides direct, reliable control over the timing, duration, and dynamic range of stimulus presentation, and test the device in individuals who may manifest a laryngeal sensory deficit. The new device operates silently and has more than four times greater stimulus dynamic range than the commercial device. Testing with the new device revealed laryngeal mechanosensory detection thresholds in an individual with Parkinson's disease that were seven times higher than those of healthy controls. These data would have otherwise gone undetected due to limited stimulus dynamic range in the commercial device. The new design resulted in a new assessment instrument that is simple to use for routine clinical assessment, yet sufficiently versatile for integration within rigorous clinical research protocols.

Published in:

Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:56 ,  Issue: 4 )