Last week's speaker was Katie Bradley, a speech pathologist who heads up the Speech Language Pathology Department at the Community Memorial Hospital. 



Katie showed a power point program about the hospital's new program called LSVT for Parkinson's treatment. Parkinson's is a chronic, progressive movement disorder affecting one million people in the US. Symptoms include tremors, slowness or stiffness and impaired balance. Medication can help these symptoms, but LSVT therapy can improve speech. LSVT stands for Lee Silverman Voice Treatment, and includes a 2 year speech treatment program called LOUD and an intensive therapy of 4 times a week called BIG. Why do Parkinson's patients need speech therapy? Did you know that 89% of Parkinson's patients have speech impairment? This treatment stimulates muscles in the throat to change the characteristics of mumbling, slurring, monotone and soft voice to vocal loudness, intonation, and voice quality. The therapy includes more than just the throat and offers full body treatment. Next, Katie showed us videos of patients who had undergone this treatment, before and after. In addition to dramatic speech improvements, the patients learned to think loud and act big with large body movements improving their walking. It is never too early to get treatment for Parkinson's, Katie said. This treatment has been available in Duluth for a while, and now it is offered in Cloquet.