Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

A speech-language pathologist might evaluate your speech to help determine the type of dysarthria you have. This can be helpful to the neurologist, who will look for the underlying cause.

Besides conducting a physical exam, your doctor might order tests, including:

  • Imaging tests. Imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan, create detailed images of your brain, head and neck that may help identify the cause of your speech problem.
  • Brain and nerve studies. These can help pinpoint the source of your symptoms. An electroencephalogram measures electrical activity in your brain. An electromyogram evaluates electrical activity in your nerves as they transmit messages to your muscles. Nerve conduction studies measure the strength and speed of the electrical signals as they travel through your nerves to your muscles.
  • Blood and urine tests. These can help determine if an infectious or inflammatory disease is causing your symptoms.
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap). In this procedure, a doctor or nurse inserts a needle in your lower back to remove a small sample of cerebrospinal fluid for laboratory testing. A lumbar puncture can help diagnose serious infections, disorders of the central nervous system, and cancers of the brain or spinal cord.
  • Brain biopsy. If a brain tumor is suspected, your doctor may remove a small sample of your brain tissue to test.
  • Neuropsychological tests. These measure your thinking (cognitive) skills, your ability to understand speech, your ability to understand reading and writing, and other skills. Dysarthria doesn't affect your cognitive skills and understanding of speech and writing, but an underlying condition can.
April 24, 2015