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A number of you forwarded links to a story in which Larry Page describes for the first time his voice problems.

In prior posts I had guessed his voice problem was caused by spasmodic dysphonia, a condition I once had. Evidently I was wrong. (For the first time.) But what Page does have is similar in a few ways.

With spasmadic dysphonia, the vocal chords clench shut involuntarily. Page seems to have the opposite, in that his vocal cords are partly paralyzed. There is a version of spasmodic dysphonia in which the vocal cords open involuntarily, and that might sound very similar to how his voice sounds -- breathy and weak. What makes Page's situation different, and also indicates to me that the problem isn't spasmodic dysphonia, is that his two vocal cords went bad in different years. I've never heard of that.

Interstingly, my voice problem was fixed by a surgery that clipped my existing nerve connection from brain to vocal cords and spliced in a new route. Page's problem also seems to involve nerve damage from brain to vocal cords. So his voice problem and my ex-problem are entirely different, but it wouldn't surprise me if the solution was similar: Nerve rewiring by surgery.

Interestingly, Page's voice problem was triggered the same way spasmodic dysphonia gets triggered, by a common cold or respiratory illness that causes laryngitis and simply never improves. I'm surprised there are two conditions with that same trigger.

Anyway, if Larry hasn't yet spoken to Dr. Gerald Berke at UCLA, he hasn't finished investigating his options. I'd be happy to make an introduction.
 
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Jul 25, 2013
Scott,

I was diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia (abbductor) at the Vanderbilt Voice Center this April. I had been suffering since 2009 and spent years chasing my tail with a myriad of therapies, medical tests, "home remedies", poor advice, and concerned looks from those convinced I was merely having minor panic attacks.

I had resigned myself to the fact that I inexplicably lost my mind and simply forgot how to speak. It wasn't until I fortunately happened upon the right google search terms and stumbled across your story (1am on January 15th) that I learn about how this condition had manifested itself in you and altered your lifestyle. It was as though I was reading my own life story for the past 4 years and finally, someone knew what it felt like. I shed a few tears and the next morning called Vanderbilt and now have hope of getting my life back.

Anyways... Thanks. Intra-cord Botox injection 1 down and apparently a lifetime to go. My doctor/therapists have been extremely reluctant to suggest the more radical nerve-severing procedure you endured, but I guess its success speaks for itself?


 
 
May 19, 2013
My boss has a similar problem. The link between her brain and her mouth seems to be completely severed in that whenever she talks, what comes out is utter meaningless BS.
 
 
May 17, 2013
Nobody seems to have much to say about this post, so I'll self-indulge a bit, on a very remotely related topic.

My 3-year-old daughter was suffering from severe sleep apnea (we did the sleep study) so we got her plus-sized tonsils and adenoids removed two weeks ago. Lots of complications made me seriously regret it, but the issues are resolved at this point.

We frequently put a pulseox (SPO2 monitor) on her at night because she was born premature and we're paranoid, so we know what her blood oxygen levels and pulse rate normally are. A week after surgery, her blood oxygen level is about 5% higher, and now totally normal (we thought her prior deficiencies had something to do with prematurity and under-developed lungs). Her pulse stays about 20 bpm lower, too. Having REAL NUMBERS to compare has done a lot to ease my guilt over a bumpy and painful recovery.

There are cheap PulseOx monitors on ebay, in the $25 range. We bought an $80 one. I highly recommend it for anyone with an infant. Especially when they catch a cold or something, it's comforting to know what these numbers are and have the security of an alarm if oxygen or pulse go into dangerous ranges when everyone is asleep.
 
 
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May 16, 2013
that's totally amazing that we actually have the technology to not just cut the nerve but RE-ROUTE it, wow. this opens up a new world of injuries i can now risk sustaining.

also, have you ever thought about writing a book in the persona of the pointy haired boss, about how to be a successful manager?
 
 
May 16, 2013
Were you able to talk shortly after the operation? Or did you have to retrain your brain to use the new connection?
 
 
 
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