Michelle S. Troche, PhD/CCC-SLP, has been awarded a CurePSP Venture Grant for her research project titled “Developing Treatments for Swallowing and Communication Deficits in Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP).”
This project won the approval of the Scientific Advisory Board for its strong scientific merits and great impact on PSP patients’ quality of life. Swallowing and communication disorders related to PSP significantly reduce quality of life for patients and make death related to aspirational pneumonia more likely. This study will attempt to better understand these issues and improve treatment techniques.
“CurePSP hopes to establish new core guidelines for PSP patient care based on this project.”
Swallowing impairments stemming from PSP result in marked health decrements, and communication deficits can result in an inability to communicate wants and needs, leading to social isolation and emotional distress. Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) play a key role in the management and treatment of swallowing and communication deficits in this population. SLPs are challenged by a scarcity of literature available regarding the specific deficits that people with PSP have related to airway protection and communication deficits, making it difficult to determine the best way to treat these problems.
The overall goal of this research is to reduce death and sickness secondary to aspiration pneumonia and improve quality of life in people with PSP. The specific goal is to better understand the difficulties that people with PSP have when it comes to swallowing, cough and communication. Dr. Troche will also test whether people with PSP can participate in treatment techniques that have been found to improve swallowing, cough and communication in people with Parkinson’s disease and stroke.
This study will be run on a sample pool of 30 people with PSP. The participants will undergo reflex cough testing and a swallowing test as well as paper-pencil tests of communication. Participants will also try a variety of treatment techniques and see how easy or hard they are to perform. Gathering this information will help to develop better ways of evaluating and managing swallowing, cough and communication dysfunction in PSP. CurePSP hopes to establish new core guidelines for PSP patient care based on this project.