Request for Funding
Medical Student Research Fellowship for Summer 2011
All descriptions must contain enough detail to permit an assessment of the problem that is to be addressed and the methodologies that are to be employed. Please be careful to outline the role that the student will play in the project that is described. Please ensure that all relevant approval numbers (IRB, IACUC) are provided.
Mentor: Ted Mau, MD PhD. Assistant Professor.
Department: Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Room number: G7.214
Mail Code: 9035
Phone number: 214-648-2042
Project title: Electroglottographic analysis of normal and diseased voices
Human subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): Not applicable. The summer project will only involve methodology development.
Animal subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): Not applicable
Project Type (patient-based research, animal-based research, or basic research; this characterization is only to permit a general classification for grouping similar types of projects) Basic research, with application to patient-based research
Brief Description of Project:
This project is particularly suitable for a student with a background in the engineering or physical sciences who desires to apply analytical skills to human physiology and disease. Many patients with voice disorders speak with a “pressed” or “strained” voice. This vocal quality is readily appreciated by most listeners after minimal training, but objective measurement of the degree of “pressedness” or “strain” in a voice is lacking. Despite the capabilities of modern acoustical analysis, clinical voice assessment still relies on the subjective judgment of the clinician, because various objective measures have not proven to correlate well with the clinically relevant perceptual voice qualities such as “strain”.
The goal of this summer project is to develop signal processing methods for analyzing electroglottographic (EGG) data. EGG is a non-invasive technique to detect vocal fold movement during phonation. A high frequency electrical signal (2-5 MHz) is passed between two electrode plates placed in contact on either side of a subject’s larynx. Since phonation involves cyclic adduction (closing) and abduction (opening) of the vocal folds, cyclic alterations in the amount of tissue between the two plates are produced, and this is detected as a change in conductance. The EGG signal therefore provides a quantitative, physiologic measure of phonation that is sensitive to subtle changes in laryngeal mechanics. While the potential value of EGG has been suggested, it has yet to be widely applied in the clinical setting due to equipment needs and training. Our goal is to advance the utility of EGG as a quantitative assessment tool for voice to provide objective measures that can correlate with and enhance clinical judgment.
The 2011 summer student will work closely with the mentor to develop and test MATLAB routines to analyze EGG data. Specifically, we will extract parameters that reflect the speed of glottic opening/closing, how “open” the glottis is during the glottic cycle, and other parameters that potentially correlate with perceptual measures. The basic building blocks for such programs have already been written, so the student will not be starting from scratch and will be able to capitalize on prior work to complete this project within the 10-week period. In addition to gaining expertise in data analysis and signal processing, another major goal of this project is for the student to learn about laryngeal and phonatory physiology, how disease can affect vocal fold function, and how their work this summer can directly contribute to diagnosis.
Previous Research Activities with UTSW Medical Students:
Kent Weinheimer (Class of 2013) “Aerodynamic phonatory measurements in an excised larynx model”, UTSW Medical Student Summer Research Program (2009).
Poster Presentation at the 48th Annual UT Southwestern Medical Student Research Forum, January 2010.
Joseph Muhlestein (Class of 2013) “Phonation threshold pressure and flow in excised human larynges”, UTSW Medical Student Summer Research Program (2010).
Poster Presentation at the 49th Annual UT Southwestern Medical Student Research Forum, January 2011.
Abstracts and Publications with UTSW Medical Students:
Mau T & Weinheimer K. (2010) Three-dimensional arytenoid movement induced by vocal fold injections. Presented at the American Laryngological Association meeting, April 28, 2010, Las Vegas.
Mau T & Weinheimer K. (2010) Three-dimensional arytenoid movement induced by vocal fold injections. Laryngoscope 2010, 120:1563-8.
Mau T, Muhlestein J, Callahan S, Weinheimer K, Chan RW. (2011) Onset and offset phonation threshold pressure and flow in excised human larynges. To be presented at the American Laryngological Association meeting, April 28, 2011, Chicago.
Mau T, Muhlestein J, Callahan S, Weinheimer K, Chan RW. (2011) Onset and offset phonation threshold pressure and flow in excised human larynges. Submitted. Laryngoscope.