The Bulbar Function Lab is primarily engaged in research related to understanding speech production in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The development and validation of novel tool for the assessment of bulbar dysfunction in ALS

This project will address the need for improved clinical assessments of bulbar dysfunction by creating and validating an assessment tool, the ALS-IBD. The ALS-IBD translates prior research knowledge and multidisciplinary expert consensus into a clinically-meaningful tool for speech-language pathologists to use.

Speech movement classification in diagnosing and treating ALS

The project will lead to more accurate and efficient speech motor assessments and create new pathways of oral communication for ALS patients with speech impairments using a real-time silent speech interface (a device that generates speech in response to silently produced movements of tongue, lips and jaw).

Deterioration of bulbar function in ALS

The goals of this project were to identify instrumental measures sensitive to bulbar ALS onset and progression, understand the course of disease progression over time and to distinguish parts of bulbar mechanism in ALS which affect speech intelligibility decline the most.

Neuroanatomical correlates of motor and cognitive dysfunction in ALS

The primary aim of this project was to improve the understanding of cognitive, motor and brain changes that occur in patients with ALS. Correlating these areas will give us a better grasp on disease onset and progression, identify markers of disease and enable researchers to design and test new promising treatments for ALS.

Demonstration of sensor attachment for the WAVE Speech Research System, NDI (Waterloo, Canada)

(credit to Speech Disorders & Technology Lab, University of Dallas Texas)

Game scenarios used for visual feedback in the VTV lab

The Vocal Tract Visualization (VTV) lab located at the University Health Network – Toronto Rehabilitation Institute is engaged in cutting edge research using innovative computer gaming modalities to achieve speech rehabilitation for individuals affected by dysarthria and apraxia of speech as an outcome of a neurodegenerative disease or neurological event. Currently, the research focuses on utilization of “serious games” for speech rehabilitation in people diagnosed with Parkinson disease or left hemispheric stroke.