The University of Notre Dame have devised an Apple tablet based system to detect changes in the human voice following a concussion. According to Christian Poellabauer, associate professor of computer science and engineering, “This project is a great example of how mobile computing and sensing technologies can transform health care,” Poellabauer said. “More important, because almost 90 percent of concussions go unrecognized, this technology offers tremendous potential to reduce the impact of concussive and subconcussive hits to the head.” The project was done in coordination with Professor Patrick Flynn also of the department of computer science and engineering with graduate student, Nikhil Yadev. Here’s how the Notre Dame tablet based system works. An individual speaks into a tablet equipped with the Notre Dame program before and after an event likely to produce a concussion like boxing for example. The two samples are then compared for specific minor traumatic brain injury (TBI) indicators, which include distorted vowels, hyper nasality and imprecise consonants. Basically the person establishes a baseline speaking a series of random numbers comprising to establish verbal signatures but with vowels embedded inside consonants: like tEn, fIvE, fOUr. I’m emphasizing the vowel pronunciation pattern within the number. Then in the event a concussion is suspected these number specific words are repeated as a random input with each words exact sound dimension compared as a before to after signal signature. These researchers discovered that the actual sound of pronunciation changes following a concussion, becoming more nasal. In other words air spills more into the nasal passages changing the nature of the sound during the post concussion vowel emphasis. The shape of the human mouth alters following a concussion. I suspect the very shape specifically of the soft palate is the anatomical reason for the great work of these Notre Dame researchers. Lets see how we talk, how we make sounds.
The cross-section above gives a good beginning of the way our mouths shape the inner dimensions to produce sounds but pay attention to the green colored area which is what is the roof of the mouth specifically the soft palate in contact with the back of the throat the nasopharynx. For sounds to become nasal air drifts into the nose cavity squeezing into the green zone since the soft palate is no longer in contact squished subway style in contact with its anatomical neighbour, the naspharynx. How can that be ? What determines the shape of the soft palate ? And why might the soft palate be changing shape following a concussion? Let’s follow some critical nerves that control the muscular shape of the soft palate.
Think of specific sounds like the vibration of a bell.
The sound comes from the specific shape from the bell as auditory input. For people to make sounds it’s like you are generating the sound of the bell within your own head as the sounds vibrate through your inner head bones as a resonance. When you hear a recording of your own voice you don’t at first recognize your sounds because they sound different not vibrating within your own bone bell of head shape. Inside our mouth we warp the shape of the tongue the soft palate the inner dimensions to make different sounds.
From the beginning of a baby cooing sounds of meaning fill our ears with the tempo of life. The Mother’s natural verbal chatter of rising falling rythms is how a baby starts to make sense of the sounds as communication. Soon mimicking sounds catch the coherence into words. But it is the shape that is taking place on the inside of the mouth. A complex inner shape of tongue to palate with an elastic form that creates sound sequences that captures purpose, communication happens. But linked to this communication is the communication of the face itself. Nature takes shape to create communication with sound or visually with the shape of the face. Both mobile expressions resolve shaping events into expressions that start the back and forth of mobile transfer of information. Dynamic shape inside our own mouth is responsible for the beginning of our language skills as the baby mimics the mothers sounds and face. Warping mouth muscles attached to each other in the fashion of a tensegrity net are capable of adjusting to create meaning from nothing. By the age of three the language skills are already established. If you want to teach a child to talk then talk with great enthusiasm to the child about all of the wonderful new things that surround them on a daily basis.
“The trigeminal nerve contains both a sensory and a motor root. The cell bodies of the sensory portion lie in the gasserian (or semilunar) ganglion, with the exception of those for muscle spindle information, which lie in the mesencephalic nucleus in the midbrain. The gasserian ganglion is located in Meckel’s cave near the petrous tip of the temporal bone just behind the internal carotid and the posterior portion of the cavernous sinus. Proximally, the sensory root extends to the pons, where the fibers enter the main sensory nucleus, the nucleus of the spinal tract, and the mesencephalic nucleus.”
” The maxillary division supplies sensation to the nasopharynx, maxillary sinus, roof of the mouth, soft palate, upper teeth, and an area of the face that extends from the upper lip to the side of the nose, then to the lower eyelid, and then to the zygoma. In addition, the maxillary division receives lacrimal postganglionic parasympathetic fibers from the sphenopalatine ganglion, which it delivers to the lacrimal nerve of the ophthalmic division.” from www.oculist.net/downaton502/prof/ebook/duanes/pages/v7/v7c036.html Chapter 36 Trigeminal Nerve ERIC E. KRAUS and CRAIG H. SMITH
What is imperative to point out here is the location of the entry of the trigeminal nerve into the brain stem. It is my contention that this is within this zone of vulnerability that the translation forces of torque that are due to the lopsided aspect of the Yakovlevian torque that I have described in previous essays for http://www.cerebrovortex.com. For the coherence of a vulnerability the concussive forces result into a vortex motion shape change that translates into this zone of vulnerability. For the Notre Dame researchers to have statistically determined signal deformations shape changes of the soft palate how the soft palate contracts less, is the reason the measured sound is more nasal as air spills into the sound forming chamber at the back of the mouth. Just like a robot would do if the shape of the inner mouth didn’t perform as usual.
This back of the throat has a series of muscles that determine the shape as vowels are actually pronounced. The essence of the essays that I have presented here is that Nature organizes at the level of shape formation. By shape I must stress the use of shape as a means of communication. When information is used think of the shape of DNA as the now familiar double helix. But shape is also an entity that scales itself from the nano up to the global. Our tissue our brain is at the essence shape nets integrated to perform the life motions like how we shape our inner mouth. But the very inner mouth muscles behave in a hierarchy of performance in terms of their positions within nets of tensional integrity. Our immune system is recognizable as a shape sensing friend or foe to tag interactions within such shape based analysis to determine the response of the system. A concussion of the brain is a sequence of shape related events that are like a line of dominoes one falling with its shape change into the neighbour as a sequence. Learning this sequence is like choosing where to watch the events unfold. The fact that the Notre Dame researchers have noticed the transmission of the human voice changes is simply spectacular.
Singers practise reducing tension on the tone of their voice by trying to balance the inner resonance of the tone of the voice.
Notice how experts respect the tinny nasal sound of the singing voice advising how to balance the tension away from this aspect of the resonance from : http://www.become-a-singing-master.com/how-to-sing-without-sounding-nasal.html
“Your tone quality is determined by the way that you use your vocal resonance. Your vocal resonance is the way that your sound bounces around inside your head. There are three different acoustic cavities involved in forming your sound. And your overall tone quality depends on the way that your sound vibrates through these cavities.
The three acoustic cavities in your head are your throat, your mouth, and your nasal cavity.”
For a concussion to affect your sound output this resonance of sound of the vowels in particular is happening physiologically within the muscles that determine how the soft palate actually contracts. Contraction of the palate muscles is intimately related to the cranial nerves, CN V, the trigeminal nerve complex and CN X, the vagal nerve complex that both determine the contraction performance, the shape tension/compression a la Snelson profile especially whether air sneaks into the nasal passage giving this nasal resonance output, distorting the sound. To measure a brain concussion you have to basically catch a change that is significant. A shape change of the human mouth distorting the human voice following a concussion is significant.
Notice how the voice robot functions as a shape distorting robot mouth in report at: http://www.ibtimes.com/japan-scientist-creates-singing-mouth-robot-apocalypse-looming-298695
“Professor Hideyuki Sawada of Kagawa University designed the robot to help the hearing impaired improve their speech.”
“The metal mouth was built with an air pump for lungs, eight vocal cords, and a silicon tongue. The robot can also listen to itself speak, analyzing how it could be more understandable.”
The plasticine nose actually is a model of the nasal cavity, used to show patients how the vocal chords interact with the wind pipe during speech.”
So if you go back look at the anatomy diagram the magnetic resonance image imagine where the cranial nerve the trigeminal nerve actually enters the upper brain stem. This nerve itself is stretching during the concussive blow to the head as the result of the Yakovlevian torque twisting at this vortexed zone of vulnerability. When I say stretch appreciate how exceedingly small the actual measure is the change of tension of this cranial nerve complex zone that affects how the soft palate which it controls distorts by not contracting enough to allow air into the nasal passage. That is how I interpret the work of the Notre Dame researchers being able to detect vowel pronunciation changes following a brain concussion. The zone of vortexing tissue within the upper brain stem is the plausible point of change for the concussion to reveal itself within this portion of the brain anatomy as the human sound of pronunciation distorts.