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Conjoint Grant - 2024

Effect of different NMES frequencies on the glottis at rest. Right: Schematic views of laryngeal electrode placement for vocal fold stimulation using ipsilateral electrical current.

Targeted Non-Invasive Electrical Stimulation to Treat Vocal Cord Paresis
Professor Peter Friedland & Dr. Pedro Amarante Andrade

Project Description

Hundreds of Australians lose their voice suddenly from cancer, surgery or viral infections and many don't recover. The voice is the organ of our human soul, an expression of identity and primary means of communication. Without it, we are reduced. Our multidisciplinary team of experts have re-engineered an existing electrical stimulation technique to treat vocal cord paralysis in an entirely new way. It is non­-invasive and could easily be used by speech pathologists who already use similar technology to treat swallowing difficulties. If successful, it would broaden access outside major centres to treatment and assist or avoid an invasive vocal cord injection procedure. Our technique targets three tiny muscles inside the voice box, using very low-dose electrical stimuli delivered briefly and painlessly. We hope vocal cord function will improve by stimulating the regeneration of nerve signals and movement Stimuli are delivered by miniature skin patches placed strategically over weakened voice muscles. Our project is achievable and timely and will determine if this new and original short-term therapy could justify national clinical trials to test its effectiveness in the longer term.

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