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Speech changes due to paraquat exposure

As one of the secondary motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, change in speech or speech difficulty is a debilitating effect, causing troubles in communication and reducing social interactions. While not all patients with Parkinson’s experience the same symptoms, speech changes may also not affect everyone but, when present, can be categorized as follows:

  • Dysarthria - a motor impairment affecting the muscles required for speech.
  • Hypophonia - soft speech or an abnormally weak voice caused by weakening muscles.
  • Tachyphemia - characterized by an extremely fast talking speed and rapid stammering leading to difficulties in understanding the person speaking.

The motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, including speech changes, are caused by damage to the brain area called the substantia nigra pars compacta. The related neurons produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that sends signals from the substantia nigra to other parts of the brain to produce smooth movement. When damage to the neurons in the substantia nigra causes a reduction in dopamine, motor symptoms are generated, including the movement needed by face muscles to produce speech.

Parkinson’s disease may affect speech in various ways, including:

  • a softening of the voice, causing others difficulties hearing what is communicated
  • a tone of voice with an unchanging pitch, becoming monotone
  • a hoarse or strained voice quality
  • slurred, mumbled, or rapidly expressed speech
  • difficulties in finding the right words or participating in fast-paced conversations

Speech changes and paraquat exposure

Problems with spoken communication are not always apparent in people with Parkinson’s, can occur at different stages of the disease, and can also be influenced by:

  • Motor symptoms - decreased facial expression, slowness, and stooped posture may add to speech troubles, sending incorrect non-verbal signals, or impairing emotional display.
  • Non-motor symptoms - memory or cognitive problems are also known to affect speech.

Speech changes make it challenging to communicate with family and friends, limiting social interactions, intensifying isolation, and thus severely impacting the quality of life of those with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition for which there is currently no cure, and one of the primary causes of speech changes and other debilitating symptoms is exposure to paraquat.

This toxic herbicide gained popularity in the 1960s, and it is still widely employed today throughout the U.S., despite numerous other countries imposing a ban on its use. It is available only to licensed applicators, such as farmers and agricultural workers mixing, filling, or applying the dangerous substance. These categories of individuals are the ones who are most exposed to the health effects of paraquat exposure. Still, people living around farming communities are also affected and at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Paraquat manufacturers knew about the adverse consequences of paraquat exposure but failed to warn the public, making them liable. You may be entitled to financial compensation if you suffer from speech changes and other symptoms associated with a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis following exposure to paraquat.

Quality assistance in filing a paraquat exposure claim

In the unfortunate event that you suffer from Parkinson’s disease, the experienced team at Atraxia Law can help you find out if you are qualified for filing a paraquat exposure claim. We will carefully review the circumstances of your case and collect the necessary evidence that can establish eligibility for further obtaining reparations from the negligent manufacturers and guide you on your next steps in filing a toxic exposure claim.

Contact us today and schedule a free consultation where we can discuss the specifics of your case and provide you with additional information.

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