Jeanne Johnson

Jeanne Johnson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Communication Sciences & Disorders
School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences
ISU Meridian
johnsjm@isu.edu
208-373-1728

Dr. Jeanne Johnson is conducting studies at ISU-Meridian of the patterns of brain development in children with cochlear implants compared to children with normal hearing. She is examining responses to different speech sounds as well as responses to unexpected word labels for pictures and unexpected words at the ends of sentences (e.g. "You row a goat."). To date, her data show broader neurophysiologic resources being used by the children with cochlear implants than age-matched children with normal hearing. This broader pattern is also seen in younger, normally hearing children. It may indicate that if children are implanted early, the brain can assume relatively normal function, albeit using broader resources, within the critical period for language development.


Tony Seikel

Tony Seikel, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences
Communication Sciences & Disorders
ISU Pocatello
seikel@isu.edu
208-282-3992

Tony is currently working to characterize objective data related to the clinical evaluation of dysphagia and oromyofunctional disorders. This multi-year project has involved over 15 student theses, examining the function of the oral mechanism during swallowing. Speech-language pathologists are charged with performing clinical evaluations of swallowing, and yet normative data are lacking in the literature. The project has examined nearly 400 individuals from 5 to 65 years of age on a number of swallowing measures. Further, data from this project have revealed that having the reasonably benign problem of tongue thrust is predictive of life-threatening oropharyngeal dysphagia.


Karrie Cummings

Karrie Cummings M.S. CCC-SLP
Communication Sciences & Disorders
School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences
ISU Meridian
cummkarr@isu.edu
208-373-1736

Research Interest:
Dysphagia in Head and Neck Cancer Patients:
Speech Language Pathologist Involvement and Outcome

The addition of chemotherapy to radiation aids in the survival of patients with head and neck cancer but also increases acute toxicity, primarily painful oral mucositis and dermatitis exacerbated by xerostomia. The consequences of these side effects often result in hospitalization and breaks in treatment, which lead to lower locoregional control and survival rates. I am studying the effects of The NO SToPS approach, which is a multidisciplinary strategy for management of nutrition, oral care, skin care, therapy for swallowing, range of motion, and lymphedema, pain, and social support.

Patients with head and neck cancer often have dysphagia as a side effects associated with chemoradiation. The consequences of these side effects often result in hospitalization and breaks in treatment, which lead to lower locoregional control and survival rates. Preliminary findings indicate early and often follow-up with a Speech Language Pathologist reduces the incidence of aspiration pneumonia in this patient population.

Heather L. Ramsdell-Hudock

Heather L. Ramsdell-Hudock, PhD CCC-SLP
Communication Sciences & Disorders
School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences
ramsdell@isu.edu
208-282-3077

Most speech and language disorders are currently not identified until children begin to speech, and thus critical learning and treatment periods are missed in development. Dr. Heather L. Ramsdell-Hudock, CCC-SLP is working to change all that through research at ISU's newly-built Infant Vocal Development Laboratory. Infant prelinguistic vocal behaviors predict later language abilities, but identifying those infants and toddlers at risk for future speech and language difficulties is challenging because normal vocal development is variable and unstable. Adding further complication, the methodology commonly used to study prelinguistic infant vocalizations in research settings is cumbersome, tedious, and unsuitable for clinical practice. Thus, implementation of refined and natural procedures for documentation of infant vocalizations would be expected to provide an efficient means of tracking development, thereby increasing the translational potential of this line of research.

A promising development in this regard derives from recent work on caregiver perception of early infant sounds as a means of identifying infants at risk for developing a speech and/or language disorder. In particular, caregiver report may be more functional than traditional methodology for tracking vocal development because caregiver perception directly influences caregiver/infant interaction and shapes future speech development and word learning. The long-term goal of research conducted in the Infant Vocal Development Laboratory is to contribute to the development of evidence-based strategies for early identification of infants and toddlers at risk for speech and/or language disorders later in life. Currently, cross-sectional and longitudinal research methodologies are being used to track caregiver perspective of vocal development from infants who are both typically developing, and infants who are at risk (those who have experienced one or more of the following conditions prior to 7 months of age: pre- and perinatal problems; ear, nose, and throat problems; swallowing/sucking problems; and/or a family history of speech and/or language problems).The rationale for this line of research is that its successful completion is expected to provide new evidence on the ability of caregiver report to accurately identify discrepancies in speech and language development among infants.

Chris Sanford, Ph.D., CCC-A
Communication Sciences & Disorders
School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences
ISU Pocatello
Sanfchri@isu.edu
208-282-3813

Jeff Brockett, Ph.D., CCC-A
Communication Sciences & Disorders
School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences
ISU Pocatello
brocjeff@isu.edu
208-282-2556

Auditory Research Lab

Two main areas of focus for the Auditory Research Lab (ARL) in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders involve investigations of middle and inner ear function. Members of the ARL are investigating the use of wideband (broad frequency range) aural acoustic tests that have the potential to overcome limitations of current clinical tests of middle-ear function. The long term goal of this research include development of tests that 1) accurately detect middle-ear pathology and predict conductive hearing loss, and 2) are useful for monitoring middle-ear surgery outcomes. An improved, objective diagnostic test to identify middle-ear disorders and conductive hearing loss has the potential to provide more accurate audiologic information for individuals of any age, but would be especially useful in difficult to test populations such as young children and infants.

Inner ear (cochlear) integrity can be assessed by acoustically stimulating the auditory system and measuring the acoustic "byproduct" of cochlear function (otoacoustic emissions) with a sensitive microphone in the ear canal. Standard clinical measurement of otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) focuses on auditory frequencies from 500 to 8000 Hz. Modification of existing equipment and implementation of improved calibration routines allow for measurement of OAEs at frequencies up to 20,000 Hz. Measuring OAEs at these extended high frequencies may provide information useful for early detection of hearing loss due to noise exposure or ototoxicity related to some cancer treatments. Members of the ARL are collaborating with faculty at the University of Iowa to establish the limits of normal variability of high-frequency OAEs in children with normal hearing.

IDAHO STATE UNIVERSITY

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