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Effects of Vocal Training on Thyroarytenoid Muscle Neuromuscular Junctions and Myofibers in Young and Older Rats

Shembel, Adrianna C; Lenell, Charles; Chen, Sophia; Johnson, Aaron M
The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of vocal training on neuromuscular junction (NMJ) morphology and muscle fiber size and composition in the thyroarytenoid muscle, the primary muscle in the vocal fold, in younger (9-month) and older (24-month) Fischer 344 × Brown Norway male rats. Over 4 or 8 weeks of vocal training, rats of both ages progressively increased their daily number of ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) through operant conditioning and were then compared to an untrained control group. Neuromuscular junction morphology and myofiber size and composition were measured from the thyroarytenoid muscle. Acoustic analysis of USVs before and after training quantified the functional effect of training. Both 4- and 8-week training resulted in less NMJ motor endplate dispersion in the lateral portion of the thyroarytenoid muscle in rats of both ages. Vocal training and age had no significant effects on laryngeal myofiber size or type. Vocal training resulted in a greater number of USVs with longer duration and increased intensity. This study demonstrated that vocal training induces laryngeal NMJ morphology and acoustic changes. The lack of significant effects of vocal training on muscle fiber type and size suggests vocal training significantly improves neuromuscular efficiency but does not significantly influence muscle strength changes.
PMID: 32738046
ISSN: 1758-535x
CID: 4798312

The effects of the estrous cycle, menopause, and recording condition on female rat ultrasonic vocalizations

Lenell, Charles; Johnson, Aaron M
The goal of this study was to evaluate the effects of ovarian hormones on female rat ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs). Twenty (10 control and 10 ovariectomized) 3-month-old female rats were recorded in 3 recording conditions (elicitation, dyad, and isolation) over a full estrous cycle or time-matched duration. There were differences in USV acoustics (frequency and complexity parameters) across recording conditions but no differences in USV acoustics between control and ovariectomized groups. USVs produced in isolation had lower frequency and complexity parameters than elicited USVs for both control and ovariectomized rats. Additionally, for control rats, USV parameters of frequency, complexity, duration, and intensity changed depending on the estrous state. Therefore, although fluctuating hormone levels may influence USV acoustics, this variation can be controlled for by ovariectomizing female rats.
PMID: 33217390
ISSN: 1873-507x
CID: 4702262

BAGLS, a multihospital Benchmark for Automatic Glottis Segmentation

Gómez, Pablo; Kist, Andreas M; Schlegel, Patrick; Berry, David A; Chhetri, Dinesh K; Dürr, Stephan; Echternach, Matthias; Johnson, Aaron M; Kniesburges, Stefan; Kunduk, Melda; Maryn, Youri; Schützenberger, Anne; Verguts, Monique; Döllinger, Michael
Laryngeal videoendoscopy is one of the main tools in clinical examinations for voice disorders and voice research. Using high-speed videoendoscopy, it is possible to fully capture the vocal fold oscillations, however, processing the recordings typically involves a time-consuming segmentation of the glottal area by trained experts. Even though automatic methods have been proposed and the task is particularly suited for deep learning methods, there are no public datasets and benchmarks available to compare methods and to allow training of generalizing deep learning models. In an international collaboration of researchers from seven institutions from the EU and USA, we have created BAGLS, a large, multihospital dataset of 59,250 high-speed videoendoscopy frames with individually annotated segmentation masks. The frames are based on 640 recordings of healthy and disordered subjects that were recorded with varying technical equipment by numerous clinicians. The BAGLS dataset will allow an objective comparison of glottis segmentation methods and will enable interested researchers to train their own models and compare their methods.
PMID: 32561845
ISSN: 2052-4463
CID: 4510582

Preparation of the Rat Vocal Fold for Neuromuscular Analyses

Lenell, Charles; Shembel, Adrianna C; Johnson, Aaron M
The purpose of this tutorial is to describe the preparation of the rat vocal fold for histochemical neuromuscular study. This protocol outlines procedures for rat laryngeal dissection, flash-freezing, and cryosectioning of the vocal folds. This study describes how to cryosection vocal folds in both longitudinal and cross-sectional planes. A novelty of this protocol is the laryngeal tracking during cryosectioning that ensures accurate identification of the intrinsic laryngeal muscles and reduces the chance of tissue loss. Figures demonstrate the progressive cryosectioning in both planes. Twenty-nine rat hemi-larynges were cryosectioned and tracked from the emergence of the thyroid cartilage to the appearance of the first section that included the full vocal fold. The full vocal fold was visualized for all animals in both planes. There was high variability in the distance from the appearance of the thyroid cartilage to the appearance of the full vocal fold in both planes. Weight was not correlated to depth of laryngeal landmarks, suggesting individual variability and other factors related to tissue preparation may be responsible for the high variability in the appearance of landmarks during sectioning. This study details a methodology and presents morphological data for preparing the rat vocal fold for histochemical neuromuscular investigation. Due to high individual variability, laryngeal landmarks should be closely tracked during cryosectioning to prevent oversectioning tissue and tissue loss. The use of a consistent methodology, including adequate tissue preparation and awareness of landmarks within the rat larynx, will assist with consistent results across studies and aid new researchers interested in using the rat vocal fold as a model to investigate laryngeal neuromuscular mechanisms.
PMID: 32478747
ISSN: 1940-087x
CID: 4465942

Acoustic Comparison of Lower and Higher Belt Ranges in Professional Broadway Actresses

Flynn, Amanda; Trudeau, Jared; Johnson, Aaron M
PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE:Current research on the female belt voice has generally been limited to the range of C5, which is not representative of the current requirements on Broadway. Additionally, much belt research uses voice teachers or college students. The goal of this study was to acoustically examine both higher and lower belt ranges in 10 women who have performed belt roles on Broadway during the last decade. METHOD/METHODS:We analyzed the long-term average spectrum of the middle stable portion of three belted pitches, one from a lower, more traditional belt song and two from a higher, more contemporary belt song. The dB levels of the first three peaks in the long-term average spectrum corresponding to the first three harmonics were extracted and compared across tasks. Age, professional roles played on Broadway, and self-perceived belt strategy were obtained via interview to find potential unifying factors in resonance strategies. RESULTS:Overall, the dB level of the peaks closest to the second and third harmonics were higher than the peak close to the fundamental frequency. The difference between peaks was statistically greater in the lower belt compared to both higher belt tasks, indicating these singers relied more on a single harmonic in the lower belt range than the higher belt range. In the higher belt range, there was less variability between peaks. No patterns emerged between resonance strategies and demographic information. CONCLUSIONS:Elite female belters use varying resonance strategies to create commercially viable belt sounds in different belt ranges.
PMID: 30409455
ISSN: 1873-4588
CID: 3657772

Decreased Tongue Volume Post Radiation

Garber, David; Rotsides, Janine; Abu-Ghanem, Sara; Bandler, Ilana; Smith, Amy; Oyfe, Irina; Swahn, Dawn-Marie; Hagiwara, Mari; Amin, Milan; Johnson, Aaron M
OBJECTIVES/UNASSIGNED:To evaluate volume changes within the tongue post chemoradiation therapy (CRT). STUDY DESIGN/UNASSIGNED:Retrospective review. SETTING/UNASSIGNED:Academic Medical Center. SUBJECTS AND METHODS/UNASSIGNED:Subjects included 19 patients that received CRT as the primary treatment for tonsillar or hypopharynx squamous cell carcinoma. Tongue volumes were calculated by three raters from thin slice computed tomography images collected before treatment and up to 29 months post-CRT. Body mass index (BMI) was also collected at each time point. RESULTS/UNASSIGNED: < .001) decreased by 0.11 units (SEM = 0.02) per month post radiation. CONCLUSION/UNASSIGNED:Tongue dysfunction and decreased tongue strength are significant contributors to the dysphagia that patients experience after receiving CRT. In this study, both tongue volume and BMI decreased post-CRT; therefore, BMI could potentially be used as a predictor of tongue volume post-CRT.
PMID: 32126808
ISSN: 1943-572x
CID: 4338022

Pan American Vocology Association's "Recognized Vocologist" Designation: The Road to Creating Professional Standards in Vocology

Hersey, Anna; Scearce, Leda; Johnson, Aaron M.
As delineated in its mission statement, "PAVA promotes the creation and development of professional standards and credentials in voice habilitation and supports the currently established credentials in voice rehabilitation." This article will give an overview of the initial steps taken to establish PAVA's Recognized Vocologist (PAVA-RV) designation and further defines the specific occupational benefits of PAVA-RV across the spectrum of voice-related fields. We will discuss how the organization arrived at the decision to pursue "recognition" rather than "certification," based on extensive research of certification in other professions. Finally, we will give an overview of the hybrid portfolio application model and the criteria that will be used to assess each portfolio.
ISSN: 2326-8263
CID: 4732592

High-resolution manometry and swallow outcomes after vocal fold injection medialization for unilateral vocal fold paralysis/paresis

Kammer, Rachael E; Jones, Corinne A; Johnson, Aaron M; Dailey, Seth H; McCulloch, Timothy M; Thibeault, Susan L
BACKGROUND:Injection medialization is performed to improve glottic closure, thereby airway protection. Overall objective to determine if unilateral injection medialization changes glottal area with concomitant adjustments in penetration/aspiration scale (PAS) scores and pharyngeal high-resolution manometry (HRM) parameters. METHODS:Enrolled 17 adults with unilateral vocal fold paralysis/paresis and aspiration/penetration. Fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing and pharyngeal HRM completed at (1) baseline (within 1 week before injection), (2) postinjection (within 1 week post injection), and (3) 1-month postinjection. Comparisons between time points for PAS scores, glottal area, pharyngeal pressure, and timing. RESULTS:No significant differences in normalized glottal area. No significant differences in PAS scores, for any consistency. Significantly increased rate of mesopharynx pressure rise and maximum pressure at 1 month postinjection (P = .01 and .02, respectively) compared to baseline. Significant decrease in mesopharynx integral from baseline to 1 week postoperative (P = .03). CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Findings suggest unilateral vocal fold injection medialization had limited effect on swallow function.
PMID: 30811725
ISSN: 1097-0347
CID: 3698472

A Tutorial of the Effects of Sex Hormones on Laryngeal Senescence and Neuromuscular Response to Exercise

Lenell, Charles; Sandage, Mary J; Johnson, Aaron M
Purpose The purpose of this tutorial is to summarize how sex hormones affect both laryngeal senescence and neuromuscular response to exercise, highlighting the importance of considering sex differences in developing treatment for the senescent voice. Conclusion Men and women's voices are sexually dimorphic throughout the life span, including during the laryngeal adaptations observed during senescence. Therefore, presbyphonia (age-related dysphonia) likely clinically manifests differently for men and women due to differences in how the male and the female larynx change in response to aging. Because sexual dimorphism is evident in both laryngeal aging and response to exercise, voice therapy programs aimed at treating the typical and disordered aged voice should consider sex differences in their design.
PMID: 30950744
ISSN: 1558-9102
CID: 3810042

Laryngeal Neuromuscular Response to Short- and Long-Term Vocalization Training in Young Male Rats

Lenell, Charles; Newkirk, Bethany; Johnson, Aaron M
Purpose Although vocal training is often purported to restore and rebalance laryngeal muscle function, little is known about the direct effects of vocal training on the laryngeal muscles themselves. Consequently, parameters of vocal exercise dose, such as training duration and intensity, have not been well defined. The goal of this study was to use a behavioral animal model to determine the effects of short- and long-term ultrasonic vocalization (USV) training on USV acoustics, thyroarytenoid (TA) muscle neuromuscular junctions (NMJs), and TA muscle fiber size in adult rats. Method Twenty-four young adult male Long-Evans rats were divided into 3 groups (untrained control, 4-week training, and 8-week training). Baseline and posttraining USVs were recorded and acoustically analyzed for fundamental frequency, frequency bandwidth, amplitude, and duration. Presynaptic and postsynaptic NMJ morphological features and muscle fiber size were measured in the TA. Results USV training had no effect on USV acoustics. Eight weeks of USV training, however, resulted in a lower NMJ motor endplate dispersion ratio, consistent with previous findings. USV training did not affect fiber size within the TA muscle. Conclusions This study demonstrated that 8 weeks of USV training can induce peripheral neural adaptations in the NMJ of the TA muscle in young rats. The observed adaptations suggest that vocal training is consistent with endurance-type exercise, but the adaptations occur on a longer time scale than similar adaptations in the limb muscles.
PMID: 30950702
ISSN: 1558-9102
CID: 3858182